Humans of IBCoM: Leland’s Story

Humans of IBCoM is back again with the story of a third year IBCoM student: Leland! He was born in Surinam, but has been living most of his life in Rotterdam. He is currently working at a Dutch PR company, called Het Portaal. This is his story.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?  

“My name is Leland and I am a 3rd year IBCoM student! I am currently working part time
at a PR company, called Het Portaal. I was born in Surinam, but when I was about six months old, my family moved to Rotterdam. So, I was almost born 3-leland-sorentinoin Rotterdam. I am a big fan of FC Bayern, which is a famous football club in München and I love trying out new kinds of food at restaurants.”

Why did you choose to study IBCoM at the Erasmus University?

“The reason I wanted to study IBCoM is because I wanted to study the broad field of communication and media. The study of C&M is very open and unlimited. Also, since you do not need profound background knowledge to study IBCoM, it is good that anyone can participate and engage in class conversation using their own perspective and thoughts.”

As a third year student, what is your evaluation of IBCoM in overall?

“Well, I didn’t have much expectations when I first started studying IBCoM, so everything was interesting for me!  I really enjoyed listening to various kinds of seminars and elective courses in my second year. What I particularly like about the field of communication is that everything, from business to psychology, involves communication. The possibility to combine IBCoM courses with business courses and minors in psychology and many other fields really brings those links to life. Therefore, I am pretty much content with all IBCoM courses and also about the international atmosphere of the department. Communicating with people from different backgrounds and cultures is always very exciting.”

Can you tell us more about your current part time job at the PR company?

“Since June, I have been working at Het Portaal, which is a Dutch PR company in Rotterdam. I am working as a junior project assistant. My job at the company is to support the community manager and the editor in their daily work. I also keep up with the statistics and create my own content on social media. Other than that, I engage in community work by communicating with the stakeholders and making sure that everything is spinning in the right way.  What personally like about my job is that I am able to work for business sustainability management, which has good cause and effect to the society as a whole.”

Any recommendations for IBCoM students when looking for an internship?

“I think it will be a little bit difficult for international students, since most companies are looking for Dutch intern students. However, I think there are still many opportunities when you search through social networks and internship websites. Using Linkedin can also be very helpful. Actually, my first choice for an internship was at a different company, but for now, I really like my job at Het Portaal.”

What is your plan after graduating IBCoM?

“Career wise, I would like to focus on business sustainability. I want to get to the chief executive position of a corporation in order to be able to change the people’s mindset and to create a sustainable environment for everyone. That is the ultimate goal for my career now. Other than career related plans, I would like to travel around the world. Also, it is my personal goal to explore every restaurant in Rotterdam since I love trying different kinds of food.”

This was Leland’s story about his professional experiences in the field of communication and media. Thanks for reading our third HOI and please stay tuned on our blog since there are more posts coming up!

Humans of IBCoM: Dana’s story

Walking into everybody’s favorite study place, Polak, I got the opportunity to meet Dana Braber, a second year IBCoM student from the South of the Netherlands. As the rain poured and the wind blew outside the big clear windows, I learnt more about Dana’s experiences, the way IBCoM has shaped her and how her dislike for spiders has changed her exchange prospects! This humans of IBCoM is definitely worth a read. Here is Dana’s story:

Compared to where you’re from originally, what’s it like being in Rotterdam so far?

“I’mdana-braber from the South and I live very close to the woods, so there are lots of farms. I think it’s a good contrast that when I’m here on weekdays, it’s really busy and I have a lot to do, but when I really need my peace, I can still go to my parents.”

Have you found any interesting things to do in Rotterdam? What’s your favorite restaurant and where can we always find you?

“Well I’ve joined a studenten vereniging/ sorority (Laurentius), and besides that I like to go to small restaurants and places to eat with my friends. I like Little V a lot, because I love Asian food. It isn’t really pricey, so that’s good. Furthermore, I like to go out with friends from IBCoM.”

Do you have a job next to your studies and is it hard to handle?

“Yes! I work at an Asian restaurant close to my parents’ house, so sometimes I go there and work three or four days in a row and then I come back here. I think it’s really easy to combine, especially since my job is mostly in the evenings. We don’t have that many evening tutorials or lectures so it isn’t that hard. When I miss something, I can always catch up and borrow notes from other friends here.”

During your second year you have the opportunity to go on exchange! Where would you like to go?

“That’s quite a difficult question! I was deciding between an English speaking country or maybe Asia. Asia would be really hard actually, as I get stressed really easily when I don’t speak the language. I really want to go to Canada but there aren’t many positions, so that would be a tricky. America would be cool as well, but it’s really expensive. I don’t want to go to Australia, because they have massive spiders there! So, I’m stuck on England or Europe, because that way I could still come home to my parents if I am really homesick, as flight tickets are pretty cheap.”

What is the biggest difference between first and second year?

“Well, since this year, you get to pick your seminars, which I think is a lot better. Furthermore, you already know a lot of people now, which makes a real difference for me. Last year, I started the first term, not really knowing anyone and not sure whether I would like the courses and now I am a bit more settled.”

Did you have a vision of you coming here and do you think you stuck to it or not?

“Yes, I actually had a really clear vision of living here and making the most out of it, but I still ended up watching Netflix at home often, without really doing everything that I would want to do. Apart from that I’ve stuck to my plan of making a lot of international friends and experiencing all kinds of new things, that I wouldn’t have had if I was still at home.

You went to a Dutch high school, so what’s it like to speak English all the time now? 

“I’m kind of a book addict, so I’ve already read a lot of English books. English was also my best subject in high school, so I don’t think speaking or writing English was a problem for me. The issue is more that a lot of people here did go to international schools and their English is so creative! When I hear them speak I’m like: “Wow, that’s such a nice way of phrasing what you intend to say.” It’s great, but sometimes when I’m speaking in English, I think of things I could have said better if I were speaking Dutch.”

What has been the biggest change?

“The biggest change overall was living on my own and not having the help of my parents. When my bike is broken, for example, I can’t just ask my dad to “please fix it, because I have to go out tonight.” Right now, it’s more like “Oh, my bike is broken… I should get it repaired.” It’s a part of life and you have to grow up. You can’t always be a kid, but sometimes it’s difficult and it would be a lot easier to depend on your parents.”

What’s been the greatest thing so far that’s made a significant impact?

“This sounds really cliché, but all the new people I got to meet have such different backgrounds and interests, which, in turn, has broaden my mind and my interests. It’s just really cool to learn from all these different visions from people all over the world and I think that’s the greatest thing you can experience whilst studying.”

Even though it’s only been a year, what is one of your biggest regrets?

“Well, with regard to studying, I procrastinate a lot and I only get stressed for an exam about 12 hours in advance. I then start studying really fast and going through everything over and over again, while I should just start studying earlier. I’m still trying to learn that.”

Do you see a big difference between who you are now and who you used to be at the start of IBCoM?

“Yes! I used to be more introvert and I liked to be on my own. Now, I am more open minded about a lot of things. Previously, I would always consider what I know and what I was taught to be true. I then learnt how different people look at things and realized that it is also a sort of truth and is something I like even better.”

Do you have advice for the first years? What can we learn from you?

“Oh that’s difficult! Something I learned during my first year was that you don’t always have to stress as much as you think. For example, with exams, I used to be really stressed about how I would do, but it all works out fine as long as you just stay calm and think clearly about decisions.”

Thank you Dana for sharing your story. Make sure to keep up with the blog as there is more to come!

Humans of IBCoM: Floriane’s story

You probably know about the huge phenomenon of the Humans of New York Facebook page. This page, which interviews real-life New Yorkers on the streets, has gone viral over the Internet and is being replicated in all different cities across the world. IBCoMagazine has taken over the same concept, and we’re telling the stories of our fellow IBCoM students.


Sticking to the What’s New theme, the first Human of IBCoM of the year is a first year student: Floriane van Alphen. She moved here from Switzerland and this is her story.


Why did you decide to come here?

“My mom is German, but my dad is Dutch and I’ve lived in Switzerland for 12 years. As I went to an International School, all my friends were from different places and they wanted to go to university in places outside of our country. A lot of them were interested in England, America, etc. These options were also open for me and my parents were supportive of me as they said: ‘Go wherever is best for you. If it’s feasible, we’ll allow you to go there.’ But I wanted to go to Holland, because I always say I’m Dutch, but I’ve hardly lived here. I only lived here for 4 years when I was younger. So honestly, for me it’s much more than just the university or the course, which I really enjoy too. A big part of coming here was returning to and experiencing where I’m from again. So then I could understand what I’m identifying myself as.”


How do you like living here in Rotterdam so far?

“I think Rotterdam is very different from where I lived in Switzerland, because it was a city but a very small city. I wouldn’t go as far as calling Rotterdam a metropolitan city, but it was a change from what I was used to. And I think that the Dutch people are really sweet. They are so welcoming and so interested in where I’m from, which is really motivating for someone very new here.”


Do you think your international experiences have helped you settle into IBCoM?

“Yeah, for sure, I’m really happy about the position that I’m in. I can identify equally with Dutch people as I can with the Internationals. Sometimes, people who have come from abroad can more easily identify with peers in similar situations as them, which isn’t meant in a bad way. The internationals identify with the internationals and the Dutch identify with the Dutch. Obviously there is interplay between the two and luckily everyone gets along, but I think that there is still some consciousness of where the person you meet is coming from.”


Even though we are both first years, how do you feel about studying abroad?

“Oh, I’m so excited already! I don’t want to go to America, I don’t know exactly why, but it seems like a cliché. My dream is to go to Australia though, not that that isn’t a cliché, but it seems like an amazing country and an awesome place to live and study, of course.”


What new things have you come across when living here in the Netherlands?

“The weather is crazy! I have visited the Netherlands often with my family, but never for really long. Now living here I can’t believe how weird and unpredictable Dutch weather can be! At the beginning of the school year, we had crazy temperatures and these continued until like a week ago. Now in one day it can be cold and rainy, hot and sweaty all at the same time. I never expected that, as I’m still getting used to bringing my umbrella with me!”

This was Floriane’s story about her experiences so far. Look out for more Humans of IBCoM on the blog and even in the magazine’s issues throughout the year!