Camiel Kuijpers

Mentor 2015-2016 & 2016-2017

Being an I*ESN Mentor,

When I started my student life a few years back I saw I*ESN Tilburg for the first time. I pictured it as a strange, mysterious association and didn’t know what to expect from it. After some great experiences as member of a few other student and study associations I went on exchange to Slovenia. While being on exchange you get to know a lot of people from all around the world. People that look different, speak different and even think different. Getting to know this people is really cool and surprising. Their different lives and perspectives on life make them very funny and interesting to talk to. It provided me with a broader view on the world.

When I came back to Tilburg I figured that I wanted to continue this fun and started my adventure at I*ESN Tilburg. It was a step in the dark because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know anyone. From the first moment it felt like I fell into a warm bath. The very diverse, open-minded mix of Dutch and international students made it really easy for me to fit in.

After a previous experience of being a Topmentor for the regular Dutch students, I decided I could also handle a group of International students. Together with my randomly assigned co-mentors from Brazil, Portugal and of course the Netherlands I showed a group of freshly arrived exchange students how cool Tilburg can be. It is amazing to see that beautiful people from all over the world come to this little place in the Netherlands and actually love it. During the Topweek you participate in diverse events together with your group. Those events differ from showing the students around at the university to having a Beercantus together. You see students driving their bikes for the first time. A day later you are Ice-skating with students that until so far only been in touch with the Ice in their cocktails.

I noticed a big difference between becoming a regular Topmentor and being an I*ESN mentor. As an international student mentor you really get to know students and develop in-depth relationships. Every Tuesday there are organized dinners with your group and for the party animals I*ESN has an international student bar with co-aligning student prices. As a pleasant distraction from studying, the Tuesday quickly became the highlight of my week. The international students are here to have fun, and what is more fun than being surrounded by people that want to have fun…
Of course you cannot always be around and that’s why you have a few nice co-mentors that assist in guiding your group of students.

Being a mentor turned out to be a fruitful experience, leveled my English and is a welcome addition on my student life and Curriculum Vitae. In future it is very likely that I have a personal guide when visiting far places in the world.

Camiel,
Student Organisation Studies at Tilburg University

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