Last Wednesday, members of the ISN committees and volunteers welcomed around 500 exchange students to Amsterdam at Schiphol Airport. About 850 students participated from Thursday to Saturday in the Winter Introduction Weekend, or Wintro, which is the largest introduction week ever organized by ISN. Last year, the Wintro received 750 students.
The three-day event included a canal boat tour, workshops, Dutch crash courses, a sports day at USC, as well as parties in Coco’s Outback, Q-Factory and Radion. The activities aimed to connect international and exchange students upon their arrival in the city.
An introduction of the program took place at DeLaMar theatre. The speakers at the talk were the Rector of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences Dr. Geleyn Meijer, the President of the ISN Amsterdam board Weronika Korkuc, the Coordinator of Global Programs and Communication Advisor Dr. Guido de Wilde, and the UvA student counselor Dr. Jeanette Enhoven. Additionally, the entire ISN board was invited on stage to talk for the first time. “The fact that we were all confident enough to go on stage and present in front of an audience of 900+ people was quite impressive,” said Carla Ojeda Bautista. “We’re all very proud!”
Carla Ojeda Bautista and Ludo Ciadella, ISN’s introduction coordinators, have been planning the introduction week since September with the help of musicians the Goodlife Tribe, CREA, bike shop Bike Boys and gymnastic group Studenten Turnvereniging Amsterdam (STAH). Ojeda was positive about the plans’ outcome. “Overall, we are very happy about how it turned out. It was a big challenge for us as it was our first time organising it.” Apart from the logistical challenges, no major incident stopped the flow of the event.
“It’s always hard to innovate, especially in winter because there are only 3 days and some activities are mandatory to do,” explains Ojeda. During this massive event, the organizers arranged for 20 artists to perform live music, replacing the usual DJ performance. “We also tried to improve the quality provided and tried to fit in some activities like the international dinner, which was normally only done in the summer.”
“ISN is an organisation run by students for students and our aim is welcome them in our city and give them some direction,” explained Ojeda. This year, 25 volunteers and around 90 coaches, all students, helped during the Winter Introduction Week. “From our experience [Wintro] is a crucial moment that will shape the course of their exchange and helps them out when they’re feeling a bit lost and confused.”
- Content Manager (Fall 2018)
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Isabel Bonnet is a 21-year-old second-year student in communication science at UvA. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Amsterdammer. Before its creation, she worked as a photo editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and did an internship at Le Monde.