Humans of IBCoM – Saaiqa’s Story


For this week’s Humans of Ibcom I interviewed Saaiqa Merali. This is her story:

Saaiqa was born and raised in a town called Mwansa in Tanzania. “It’s just like the second city of Tanzania.” Until she turned 16, Saaiqa lived in Mwansa. Then, she had to move because there was no continuation in her school for the last two years of high-school. “So, I had to move to Kenya to finish high-school. It was kind of normal at that time, when you wanted to continue an international education. Pretty much half of my class moved away from home.”

After that she started her plans for university. “That was the next logical step [continuing high school] but I also wanted to go to university”. Saaiqa first went to Dubai, to study Psychology with Marketing. “Psychology was kind of a leap. I never studied that before, but I knew that I wanted to do marketing. So, I was thinking more [farther] along the line, like what would make me stand out. Being the best in your field and also make yourself different to all the other graduates [is important in Tanzania] because you have to work hard to get a job. As an attempt to do something different but something I liked, I did psychology with marketing”.

But when Saaiqa started it, she did not like it at all. “It’s not to say that psychology is a sh*t course. It is a good course. It just wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t stay engaged and I stopped going to class because I really couldn’t enjoy it at all. I  wasn’t enjoying myself.” By then, she decided to drop out and after she went home for the summer break, decided not to return. “[At] first my family wasn’t pleased because obviously I already did a year of school and it would all have been for nothing. I wasn’t able to carry my credits and that wasn’t great, either. As parents, they were a bit disappointed, but they were really supportive.” Her parents told her to find something she really liked and to stick to that. Saaiqa is very grateful for the support she received from her family and friends.

The next course she started was IBCoM. “I haven’t been in school since I dropped out in 2013,” she tells me. First, Saaiqa wanted to get straight back to school. For a year she was looking for different courses she could like and felt like she needed to get back. “[I felt like] I needed to get back to university. But somehow, I guess it was my mindset at that time, I just didn’t want to be back in school. So, I always found a problem. I was holding myself back but not admitting it.” Saaiqa decided to do some practical work before going back to university. “ I worked in two marketing jobs and I really enjoyed working [hands-on].”

Later, she did an internship at an events agency, and by then Saaiqa realized that was what she wanted to do. “I was kind of settled and knew that I want to do Media and Marketing and Events and just at the time I was realizing it, IBCoM came up on my computer and I thought it was amazing. Everything about this course seemed perfect. I just applied.” She also applied to many other programmes, but IBCoM was the first response she got back. Since IBCoM was her first choice, it seemed natural to stick with it.

Saaiqa told me that she is always getting two kinds of reactions: either people find her story super cool or super scary; the imagination that you fail and then lose four years of your life for some students is a real horror scenario. “But that’s okay. I’m happy when people ask me about it.”

Saaiqa´s advice to all students that think about dropping out is to talk about it. “I hadn’t talked to anybody about dropping out. I was scared because I did not want to seem like a failure and I had really low confidence and self-esteem.” She found excuses for everything and barely went to university. “I just called my mum once and she was like, “Oh, no.” I decided to do the second term but I barely went to class because I absolutely hated it. It can be scary if you´re about to drop out and don’t know what you´re going to do. It would be nice [for] people know that they’re not lost. You will be fine!”

Post-Exam Parties

Exams are almost over and it is time to think of some nice parties to celebrate that. This weekend, there are (of course) somenice parties at Toffler, Bar, etc. But what about something a bit more extraordinary? Here is a list of some nice parties you will not experience every day:

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 22.41.27After 10 days of non-stop movies, the International Film Festival Rotterdam this weekend comes to an end. Don´t miss your last chance to join the festival during some great movies or one of the daily parties at Schouwburgplein.

The official closing party takes place on Saturday from 11pm onwards. There will be a silent disco as well as different bands and DJs for every favour.

Location: Karel Doormanstraat 278b, 3012GP Rotterdam

  Entrance: free

image3On Friday, there is a big Bar Opening in Club Gen. If you want to get some drinks and enjoy some live music, performances, exhibitions, karaoke and Jenga XL you shouldn’t miss it. There will be analog synthesizer livesets by Elisha Gray and Slaghek and you can see some visual arts projects by Onno Poiesz, ATTAK and Rosa Peters.

Location: Club Gem, Glashaven 42, 3011GA Rotterdam

Entrance: free

25398739_10155708148571068_2023531498598394864_n.jpgOn Saturday, Prspct are back in Rotterdam to celebrate the release of Hallucinators Iconoclasm album. If you like Drum & Bass, Hardcore and Breakcore music, you should definitely check it out. The Prspct agency hosts a wide selection of DJ´s, live acts and MC´s which are all representing their own unique style. For the exact line up check

Location: WORM Rotterdam, Boomgaartsstraat 71, 3012XA Rotterdam

Entrance: 13,95€ in Pre-sale




If you are really into football and want to celebrate this years Superbowl with hundreds of other football enthusiasts, the Superbowl Party by the 010 Trojans on Sunday might be the perfect choice for you.You can get drinks and food from 10pm onwards and the kickoff will take place at 00.30am. There will also be a lottery where you can win Trojans merchandise.

Location: Trojans home, Sportpark de Vaan, Oldegaarde21

Entrance: 5€

City Trips for Christmas Break

Only three weeks are left until the long-awaited Christmas break finally starts!

For many students, that means only three weeks left until they finally go home for Christmas to see their families again. But for international students that can’t make it home and Dutchies that don’t want to spend the entire break at home and would like to use their vacation for a great, small-scale trip, here are some travel tips for Belgium, Germany and France. 



Bruges, Belgium

For only €80, you can book a round-trip that goes directly from Rotterdam to Bruges and back.

Bruges is a perfect location in the winter months – it provides an Instagram-worthy wintery Christmas scene that is typically only seen on festive cards. Whilst the weather is grey and rainy, the atmosphere is warm, joyous and contagious, and most travellers fall head over heels in love with Bruges and everything it has to offer.

Bruges: Christmas Markets

The Bruges Christmas Markets are a very famous attraction and shouldn’t be missed in the wintertime! They take place throughout the month of December in the city’s medieval center. Although it’s a popular tourist spot, you will meet many locals in the markets with the intention to shop, stock up on food, ice skate, sing carols or even just to socialize. After skating on the ice rink, be sure to warm up with a cup of Glühwein and some frites as you wander around the market stalls, marvelling at all of the handmade clothing, wooden toys and ceramic beer mugs.

Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival

image1The Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival is another activity that should be on your to-do-list when making a trip to Bruges. Rug up in your warm winter clothing and be captured by the tonnes of ice and snow that are cut, carved and polished into intricately detailed sculptures. Be sure to visit the ice bar inside, and treat yourself to another Glühwein or hot chocolate.

Legends of Bruges Free Walking Tour

A great way to get to know the city at any time of the year is by foot. Legends of Bruges offers a free walk, twice daily at 9:45am and 2:30pm (except for Monday and Wednesday, where only afternoon tours are offered) that takes walkers on a local exploration of Bruges. On the tour, you can learn about the city’s history and urban legends as well as enjoy a beer and chocolate taste testing – a must when in Bruges! Each tour lasts for about 1.5 hours. With the non-existent price tag and the abundance of local knowledge that you will gain, you should definitely not miss it.

Hamburg, Germany

For around €30, you can get from Rotterdam to Hamburg to experience the unique atmosphere Hamburg provides in winter. Besides the very famous Christmas Market where you can eat, drink and find some last Christmas presents, Hamburg has a lot to offer even in winter.

Musicals in Hamburg    

Hamburg is famous for the many different and amazing musicals you can attend. Especially in winter, when skies are grey and rain never stops, musicals are booming, giving you lots of options of great musicals to watch.

Tour of lights

image4Another great opportunity you get in winter is a tour through the “sea of lights”. Besides the lovely atmosphere created by many lights and winter decorations, the boat tour provides an overview of the most important monuments you can visit in Hamburg.


Ice skating (in the botanic garden)!

If you are a fan of ice skating, Hamburg has a lot to offer. For example, you can go ice skating inside the famous botanic garden, a very unique experience you can’t make in many other locations in the world. Different from the many different ice rinks, but also on various lakes and rivers that freeze in winter, here you can show your qualities as an ice-skater!

Paris, France

Depending on the date, you can find buses and trains starting at €20 from Rotterdam to Paris. Moreover, St. Christopher’s Inn’s provides a special deal during the winter; stay four nights but only pay three:

During this time of year, the entire city is covered with winter decorations that bring a surreal magic and an unique atmosphere to the city, making it perfect for picturesque evenings out. Furthermore, it’s low season in Paris, so you’ll have more of the city to yourself and won’t have to compete with hordes of tourists for entry to exhibits, monuments or when making a restaurant reservation.

The Parisian wintertime offers much to do indoors —there are plenty of famous museums, restaurants, and stores and the concert and arts season is in full bloom. There is something to see for every flavor. Just do some research beforehand, and ask locals for recommendations to plan the best trip for yourself.

Parisian Parks

Especially in the winter, Parisian Parks provide a romantic and warm atmosphere. If you pack correctly and bundle up, and if it’s not too wet outside, a wintery walk through one  of the gorgeous Parisian parks or an evening stroll around the brilliantly lit streets can be mesmerizing. Early nights are lit up by Christmas illuminations all around town, while the boulevard Haussmann department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are as much a draw for their festive window displays as they are for shopping.

The ice rink (at the Champs-Elysees)

image3The ice rink at the Champs-Elysées is another attraction you should not miss. Open until the 3rd of January, you can make an unique experience you will never forget.

The ice rink at the Champs-Elysees is probably the most famous, but there are also many other ice-skating possibilities in Paris during winter. Just check out the locations you plan to go, maybe there is an ice rink close by.

Parisian Cafes and Restaurants

The French kitchen is famous all over the world, and once you are in Paris you should not miss French Cafés and Restaurants. One of Paris’ great wintertime pleasures is watching the city bustle by while lingering at an outdoor table with a café crème, a vin chaud (hot wine) a hot chocolate… Most cafés fire up the braziers to keep things cosy in- and outside!