HOI: Mayowa, the ‘temporary’ Human of IBCoM

With the exchange destination announcement taking place yesterday, IBCoMagazine decided to give you an insight of what it is like to be an exchange student, from our very own (temporary) human of IBCoM.

Mayowa was born in the UK, raised in Ireland and with Nigerian roots, she seems to be the perfect match to our international environment – which she finds fascinating.

When asked why she chose to study here, at Erasmus University, Mayowa said: “I’ve always heard about the great quality of education in the Netherlands and I chose Erasmus University particularly because of the diversity of students and nationalities it was representing, which was very attractive to me.”

Unlike many of the exchange students following the IBCoM programme, Mayowa has a background in Information to Social Computing & Economics. “I’ve always had an underlying passion for media and communications” says Mayowa “and have always thought how I could also apply my economics skills to it.”

When it comes to the difference between the Dutch and Irish education systems, Mayowa says the Dutch one is definitely stricter. “The lectures and tutorials are way shorter in Ireland and usually take only around fifty minutes. The workload is also something I had to adjust to in the first term.”

What she likes about the difference between the systems however, is that tutorials here require student participation and engagement, which allows you to get a greater insight into someone else’s perspective. All in all, Mayowa says she does feel more at ease with the Irish system, but would prefer the Dutch one. “The workload and ongoing revision of study materials here really help me better prepare for exams. My time-management skills have also improved, which I am really happy about.”

When leaving for exchange, without any doubt, on has their own concerns and worries about how they are going to integrate in the chosen destination. On that note, I asked Mayowa what was her experience with regards to inclusivity in the Dutch society. “All in all, I believe the Dutch society can be defined as inclusive. However, sometimes I find myself receiving e-mails and announcements from the university in Dutch, which makes me feel like there’s still a division between the Dutch and International students.” Mayowa also finds it odd that certain associations and fraternities are welcoming only for Dutch students.

However, she says she is almost 80% sure she wants to do her Master’s programme in the Netherlands. “I believe I’ve achieved more during my time her in terms of education and career wise, which is why I would like to come back.”

I was curious about what Mayowa thinks could be improved when it comes to welcoming exchange students at Erasmus University: “The thing which I liked less was that exchange students were in the same group with the first years IBCoM, which I find a bit odd. In terms of advice on how university functions, I think first years needed it more than exchange students, and such advice was a bit irrelevant to us.”

Overall, Mayowa seems very much enthusiastic about coming back to the Netherlands in the future, and is always glad to answer your questions if your exchange destination will end up to be Ireland.

Thank you Mayowa!

Truth or Tea #1 : Zwarte Piet

In this series of blog posts called Truth or Tea, I will write about my unfiltered opinions on a certain topic. You may read it with disgust, perhaps hate it, and may not agree with me.

In this first Truth or Tea, I touch upon the infamous debate on Zwarte Piet.


December 5th has passed and Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet have left the country, but surprise surprise, the discussion certainly hasn’t.

For months we collectively talk and write about Zwarte Piet and its (non?)racist nature. The debate is mainly centered around the question “Is Zwarte Piet racist?” In my opinion, we should’ve moved past this debate a long time ago. Debating about whether or not it is racist for white people to paint their faces black for entertaining purposes is out of the question, because it definitely is.

But don’t worry, I’m not here to reinforce or change your opinion.

Whatever you believe in, or whatever side you take, it really doesn’t matter in the end. Whether or not Zwarte Piet is racist is a debate that has left the public sphere and is now in the hands of parliament, whom are responsible for drawing up concrete national policy. Instead of throwing dirt on each other and going back and forth about whether or not blackface should be allowed in today’s age, the debate would be so much more interesting if we put our focus on ‘Where do we go from here?After all, the festivities around Sinterklaas are for the children and children shouldn’t be the victim of grownups screwing up.

So, what do we do now? Here’s what I suggest:

  • First: there should be clear national policy to the appearance of Zwarte Piet that every city can use as guidelines when organizing the festivities around Sinterklaas.

 

  • Second: political parties should include their stance on Zwarte Piet in their political program, so that voters can actually elect their representatives based on this debate.

 

  • Third: both sides need to have a platform where they can voice their arguments on how to move forward with the tradition, all year long.

 

  • Fourth: schools need to talk about the history of slavery and tradition. Children are not dumb, they know what’s going on.

 

  • Fifth: no more violence. Whether this is verbal or physical, the use of violence is unacceptable – whether you are trying to prove your point for or against Zwarte Piet.

 

I want to conclude this by stressing how important it is to stop continuing this useless and tiring debate on whether or not Zwarte Piet should be allowed in this age. By now, people have taken their stances, and probably nothing’s gonna change that. It is now almost 2019, and our focus should lie with ‘What do we do now?A black helper or not, the tradition of Sinterklaas will always be there and it’s up to us how we can change it so that the most important party, the children, are able to enjoy a time of happiness and laughter and believe in the magic of, what can be, a beautiful celebration.

My takeaway message for now is: please, talk to each other, listen closely, hear what others have to say, and spread the message of love, for “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.


Author: Nicky

Feature Cover by Anano and Roos

Life on Two Wheels

One of the first things that come to your mind when you think about the Netherlands are bicycles. All of the tourist guides represent the country as the land of tulips, cheese and, of course, cyclists. And, they do not exaggerate. Each self-respecting Dutch person has a bike and has cycled from a very young age.

Arriving at one of the Dutch cities you will surely see a big bike-parking or at least a huge number of bicycles chained to the fence (some do not bother themselves finding a proper place to park their vehicles). Maybe you could even hear the saying that when a Dutchman moves from one living place to another, he can carry the whole amount of home utensils by bike. Well, I guess, it is not far from the truth. Bikes are as much a part of the Dutch culture as shipping is. But what are the roots of this phenomena? How did this vehicle appear and become the most popular one in the Netherlands? Let’s figure it out.

Continue reading “Life on Two Wheels”