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april 2014

42 MAGAZINE OF THE HAGUE UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES

with How to deal study stress h Testing Dutc stereotypes

ENGLISH EDITION

P I H S D N FRIE


Passion

‘I even add a personal twist to the clothes I buy’

Law student Heja Alsindee once stepped into a shop in London and instantly fell head over heels for its vintage clothing. Since then, this second-year student has often been stitching away on her sewing machine to make her own retro pieces. story Esha Gowricharn • image Quintin van der Blonk ‘I’m mad about the fashions of the thirties, forties and fifties because they’re so classy, but flirty and sexy at the same time. Unfortunately, I wear such a small size that it’s difficult to find outfits that fit me. That’s why I decided to make vintage dresses myself. It’s not only a

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lot cheaper but what I make is also more unique. I really like wearing pieces of clothing that nobody else has. I even add a personal twist to the clothes I buy. My inspiration often comes from fashion blogs specialised in vintage fashion. But I really had to start from scratch: when I started making my own things, I didn’t even know how to use a sewing machine. I learned everything from watching do-it-yourself videos on YouTube. By now, I’ve made a number of dresses and skirts for myself, and I often make things for my younger cousins. I want to take a course in the summer so that I can expand on my sewing techniques.’


Editorial

Content 6 IT problems The promise was improvement. Then why are the IT services still causing problems?

Obama cares

8 Friendship survey What is friendship actually worth to THUAS students? See the results of our survey and peak at the portraits of international friendships. 17 Funny habbits of the Dutch Tall blondes riding bikes, eating fried croquettes and smoking cannabis. An article about classic stereotypes and what Dutch people think of them. 12 Leonard Geluk, the new Chairman of the Executive Board 14 How to cope with fear of failure 20 Watching the watchmen 24/7 Columns 4 In Pictures: Spring arrives 5 Column by Jos Walenkamp 11 Legal Briefs 22 Gems: where (not) to go to in The Hague and a reader campaign 24 Melting Pot: a Kenyan funeral dish

is published and produced by the Communication ABOUT LINK Link & Marketing department at The Hague University. Editors room Ovaal 0.82/Poseidon 6 • Address  Postbus 13336, 2501 EH Den Haag e: link@hhs.nl f: 070 445 7554 i: http://link-en.hhs.nl • Editors  Dieuwke de Boer (070 445 8851), Esha Gowricharn (070 445 7281, intern), René Rector (070 445 8813, editor-in-chief), Martine Seijffert (070 445 8814), Youri van Vliet (070 445 8796)  Student Editors  Mariska van Andel, Yvonne Bal, Anjani Bhairosingh, Ilse van Beest, Esther Bliek, Martin Cok, Patty Elbersen, Kerttu Henriksson, Tim de Jong, Stefan van Klink, Iris Krijger, Danielle Peterson, Darren Power, Astrid Prins, Yvonne Rijff  Translators  Dave van Ginhoven, Attached Language Services • Comic  Margreet de Heer  Images  Mieke Barendse, Quintin van der Blonk, Thirjeet Gurwara, Bas Kijzers, Lex Linsen, Barbara Mulderink Design  Mustafa Özbek, Josean de Pie • Print  OBT bv, Den Haag  Advertisement  Bureau Nassau, Achterom 100c, Hoorn Postbus 4130, 1620 HC Hoorn e: info@bureaunassau.nl t: 020 – 623 0905 f: 020 – 639 0846 i: www.bureaunassau.nl ISSN 2210-7983  Copyright  It is not allowed to copy articles or images without permission of the editors. Link is published monthly in Dutch and three times a year in English. The next issue in English will be released after the summer break. The first Dutch issue on May 1.

I suppose you’ve probably never seen it if you don’t speak Dutch, but there is a popular reality show on TV called Vakantieliefdes (Vacation Romances), about Dutch girls who fall in love while on holiday abroad. Usually, a girl will visit her new beau’s home country in order for them to find out if those first butterflies are still fluttering. Whether it’s making friends or making love, borders don’t seem to be a big deal. But what puzzles me is how it works when the honeybees don’t share a common language, which is usually the case. Without a proper way to make yourself understood, getting somewhere in developing your relationship becomes difficult, I would think. That leads me to another phenomenon I’ve observed over the years: the fact that expat students don’t speak proper Dutch, even after four years here. I assume (incorrectly, perhaps) that my brain dysfunction (after a day’s work my conversations with internationals quickly devolve into ‘Denglish’) is not unique, and since 1 + 1 = 2, this could provide us with an explanation for why expats and cloggies don’t seem to mix as well as they could. If THUAS is really serious about internationalising its programs, promoting Dutch language programmes for the international community seems wise – though there is no mention of (obligatory) Dutch lessons for foreign students in the internationalization policy plan. After all, it’s really nice to hear a Hungarian expat try to offer you a beer in Dutch, even if it doesn’t come out completely right. It shows that he is prepared to make an effort to speak the other language, even when it features challenging ‘g’ and ‘ui’ sounds and some other tongue-twisting oddities. I saw a guy recently who clearly cared about showing people that, ‘I speak your language.’ He happened to be an American President who, while visiting our country, took the time to mention that the atmosphere was ‘gezellig’. Sure, he was prompted and had a horrible accent, but many cloggies thought the same thing I did: ‘Now we’re talking, Mr Obama.’

René Rector Editor-in-chief of Link r.rector@hhs.nl

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In pictures Spring photo menagerie Our theme for this month – to take a spring photo of yourself and ‘nature’ – clearly showed the association of spring and (new-born) animals. There were exceptions though, such as the entry by Daisy Furth, student in Social Work and Social Services, whose photo shows her and her boyfriend washed up on a beach in Cape Verde [1]. Then to the animals; one of which is Communications Officer Monique van Kasteren’s photo of her cat, Mies, trying in vain to get a suntan [2]. Then we have Industrial Engineering & Management student Bas Verbraeken’s rabbit Joris, coming home exhausted after a spring hop [3]. Process and Food Technology student Pamela Benson took this photo [4] on the first official day of spring. And on with more animals … ‘This is the ultimate spring picture,’ writes Facility Management staff member, Natalia van Gilst [6]. Just as peaceful is Floris the cat, belonging to Law student Ellen den Hollander [7]. Prepschool student Huangweizi Yao took a number of photos in Bruges, including the picture of these swans [8]. The busy bee was photographed by Social Educational Care student Lisette van Kan, who associates spring with the slowly emerging colours and flowers [9]. Master in International Communication Management student Julieta Meneses [5], attaches great significance to Dutch flowers: even back home in Mexico, she used to have photos of the Dutch landscape hanging on her wall. We may not know if the photo is of her in the Keukenhof or elsewhere, but you cannot miss her enthusiasm: ‘It has been a dream come true to walk around the tulips and flowers in The Netherlands!’ And this is why she is the winner of the 50 euro gift voucher.

[1]

[2]

[5]

[8]

[7]

[10]

[5]

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Jos [3]

[4]

[6]

Friendship

Home students and international students often become friends. That is good. Friendship makes it easier to understand the world through the eyes of the other, makes your life here much more attractive, hel ps you to find your way in a foreign society, gives you a close look at another culture and will provide you with a wealth of free tips. Without having investigated this thoroughly, I have the impression that friendships between international and Dutch students flourish better in the informal setting of the pub than in the classroom, where working groups are often purposely composed of students of different cultures. This is meant to help integration and intercultural learning, a valuable aspect of studying abroad.

[9]

However, working groups are serious business: they have to produce results that must be graded and must render credit points. Some students go for those results straight away. Others feel the need to create good relationships between the members of the working group first and they feel slighted by the direct approach. Some students are more reserved, more timid and less confident than home students and they are not as used to speaking their mind, publicly and forcefully, as home students. They may not feel comfortable and it does not help when their less forthcoming attitude is interpreted by others as laziness or lack of interest.

Win 50 euros Every issue, Link organizes a photography contest. There is only one person that cannot be missing from your photos for the last Dutch issue of the academic year – yourself! Take an authentic, spontaneous selfie. You can include other people too – preferably not Ellen DeGeneres – and send the photo to link@hhs.nl before 2 June. State your name, study programme or position and why/when/where you took the photo in the e-mail. The winner will receive a 50 euro gift voucher.

Sometimes quarrels erupt, but more often, frustrations are bottled up. That is a pity. When groups suffer, or are angry or frustrated, nothing gets resolved in silence. Rifts deepen and little is learned. The reason you are in an international classroom is to learn. Subject matter, yes; other ways of teaching and learning, yes, but your most important lesson is how to behave in ways that are agreeable to people from another background and to communicate effectively over the boundaries of language, gender, race, nationality and culture. And, as any married person can tell you, being silent does not help. So get out there, give your frustrations a voice, listen to the preoccupations of the others, try to analyse and understand what is happening, check your assumptions with the others, communicate, communicate, communicate. And have a drink together. Jos Walenkamp Lector International Cooperation

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Biting the bullet

‘It’s bursting at the seams and moaning and groaning’ Things are not perfect with the IT at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. One time the WiFi does not work, another time the printers break down. And this while the promise was for improvement. story René Rector • image Margreet de Heer

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he IT Department has had problems for years and it seems that these are getting worse. This year alone there have already been twelve problems that were significant enough to issue a communiqué from the respective department. ‘How can this be? Is anything actually being done?’ One of the staff members that wants answers is Marcel Sem Kok, lecturer at the Academy of Social Professions. The level of dissatisfaction in his teaching team around IT escalated to the extent that the team compiled a modest blacklist of problems and sent it to the Academy management. It is a misery list: user-unfriendly programmes, missing e-mails, and at the top of Marcel’s personal list is the way the computers used for the smart board have been placed. They are positioned in such a way that you have to stand with your back to the class. Marcel is not the only one that has problems with technical hitches. Ole Carl Häusler, student and vice-chair of the General Council, has a number of comments too. Last year, in a meeting with the Executive Board, he demonstrated that wifi access sometimes starts working if you switch your smartphone to your other hand. ‘Sometimes you simply have no connection while you are standing in front of a wifi access point with your mobile phone. This is frustrating. But what irritates me more nowadays is that so many computers in the computer areas do not work. It is difficult to report problems and when you do, it can take weeks before they are repaired.’ Monique van Kasteren, electronic communications staff member at the Communica-

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tions & Marketing Department, was sitting around for half a day because her computer – and also those of her colleagues – were so slow. ‘It is better than it used to be and the problem was solved eventually – but when you report a problem, the issue ping pongs between the different IT divisions.’ During the last meeting of the General Council and the Executive Board on 9 April 2014, the question was raised what is actually being done about the situation now. The answer to the question ‘How can this be?’ is in part clear. We are all making increasingly more use


of IT services. Online lectures, use of twitter during class, Blackboard and so on – the IT applications are endless. When listing the ‘inconveniences’, the variety of the problems stands out: from badly placed computers to network interruptions to over-full computer classrooms. ‘Everything falls under the label IT, so when something goes wrong, it gives the impression that IT is on its last legs,’ says Häusler, putting the issue into perspective. ‘TU Delft has a button on the personal student homepage to report problems. This should not be too difficult to introduce here.’ Kok too tries to put things into perspective. ‘You face problems

old by then. It was in this context that improvements were promised. The question ‘how can this be?’ leads back to them. ‘The system moans and groans,’ admits Gremmen. Van de Werke emphasises that heavy investments have been made over the past year to improve the wifi network. ‘Then you read a reaction to a message on Link Online that says “How hard can it be?” Well, very hard!’ she says. ‘The main building is a real challenge for wireless technology, and this is made worse because everyone enters the building through the same door. Twenty thousand people register at the same wifi routers that are unable to cope with the capacity. And then all these people move every hour and expect that their wifi works all the time. We have even had experts from China and Finland come to deal with the problems.’

Glimmer of light

so often that you cannot forget them. You are constantly reminded of them.’

How hard can it be? So at least part of the IT failures stem from perception, and although things go wrong, the IT Service Desk is often complimented by students and staff members for its help. That said, there really are problems. In December 2012, Link interviewed Marianne van de Werke, Director of the IT Department, and Pieter Gremmen, project leader of the multi-year programme ‘Getting the ICT basic services in order’. They explained that the main building was built in a pre-wifi era. When wifi was later introduced, THUAS did become wireless to a certain extent. However, nobody could have anticipated the massive increase of wifi use of smartphones and laptops a couple of years later. Furthermore, the whole IT infrastructure was getting

The result is that the wifi now has the best coverage possible. A round among critical IT users confirms this. ‘Yes, the WiFi is much better now,’ says Van Kasteren, ‘but it means that more people will use it, and this will cause new problems.’ This assumption proves to be right. ‘The network is constantly overburdened. It’s bursting at the seams,’ admits Gremmen. And wifi is only one of a number of hurdles. The wifi routers are connected to the network with a wire, and this is outdated. The network ultimately connects to the servers. The computer capacity here has grown organically and is now a maze of emergency solutions. The IT Department has taken the decision to start at the front end of the problems by tackling the wireless system. Van de Werke explains that: ‘At least people will benefit quickly. We could have started with the servers, but you would then only notice the difference if everything is finished. The improved wifi does put a burden on the network and the servers, and people experience this in the number of disruptions.’ Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the IT tunnel. The fixed network is earmarked for improvement this autumn, with the Executive Board having approved the plan to move the computers in the central server area elsewhere. Gremmen estimates that the move will be finished in the course of next year. ‘Up till then, we have to bite the bullet.’

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Survey

Friends favor face-to-face over Facebook Just one click is all it takes to make a new friend. At least, that’s how easy it is on Facebook, but what is that friendship actually worth? We surveyed our students and what did we learn? That most people can still count their real friends on one hand.  story Laura Muis and Darren Power • images Bas Kijzers and Loek Weijts

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he numbers don’t lie. Here in the Netherlands, we spend up to 14 hours a week on social media, according to research by Multiscope. Let’s be honest: we all know that the smart phone is pretty addictive. At the same time, it’s increasingly important to have a social life. Besides your studies, you’ve got your part-time job, your sports club and maybe a student organisation to keep up with, but you also need some time to chill. There are simply too many choices to make, especially for students. That’s what Marli Huijer, leader of the Philosophy and Professional Practice research group says in her book Discipline, which she discussed with Link recently. But how do contemporary students feel about friendship as part of their busy lives?

86% f

Face-toface

Phone Calls

15%

Other

3%

Which channels do you use to keep your friends up to date?

What’sapp

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75%

Facebook

15%

f

Link surveyed 275 students. We started by asking for definitions of friendship. When do you start calling someone your friend? There were several answers, but the majority (72 per cent) defined it as ‘being able to share things you would not share with just anyone.’ Feeling comfortable around someone was also important, according to sixty per cent of the respondents, as was the feeling that someone would ‘walk through fire with me,’ which 51 per cent selected. One respondent summarised it all, saying: ‘A friend is someone who accepts you, including your less attractive qualities.’ Only three people thought of Facebook friendship as a condition for real relationships and it would seem that we are all pretty picky about who our real friends are. Seventy per cent of THUAS students say they have between one and six friends that they regularly hang out with. Around sixty per cent meets up every week and thirty per cent hangs out several times a week. The vast majority (86 per cent) thinks that the best way to keep in contact with their friends is face-to-face. THUAS-students do all sorts of things with their friends: sports/exercise (twelve per cent), shopping (26 per cent), or even cooking together (23 per cent). The top three shared activities are listed on page 10. However, it is interesting to note that, with the exception of cultural activities, studying was the least popular thing to do with friends. Face-to-face contact is frequent, but Facebook-Facebook contact still plays a big role, given how many messages are posted, sent


and read there. What’sapp is also hugely popular and almost everyone uses it (see infographic on page 8). Some THUAS students said they don’t have any friends. The main reason they gave is that they ‘don’t see a need for it.’ Four out of the seven students in this category said they aren’t looking for friendship. A few said that they have never had friends, while the rest said they were disappointed by friends in the past.

All over the world In some cases international students gave different answers about their friendships than their Dutch

classmates. One thing that jumps out is the fact that international students have more frequent contact with their friends: ten per cent says to have contact on a daily basis, which is more than the six per cent of the Dutch students. Another difference is that the vast majority (96 per cent) of international students have friends at THUAS, while almost a third of the Dutch students say they don’t have any friends at school. This isn’t unusual, given that school often functions as a ‘home base’ for international students, who enter a new life in a new country when they start school here.

‘Distance is a great test of friendship’ Mante Stasiulyte (age 20), Second year of European Studies Nationality: Lithuanian Number of real friends: 7-9 Number of Facebook friends: 500 Starting school two years ago, it took me a long time to make new friends because I was still holding on to the friendships I had back home. That distance strengthened one or two relationships, but it also ended a few too; distance is a great test. When I first meet new people, it sounds a bit negative, but I tend to see the worst in them right away. The ironic thing is that my best friends here now were people I disliked at first. I also consciously try to meet people from different nationalities because I see so many people hanging out with their own nationality, and I wonder if they’re missing out on some really different perspectives. The main thing my best friends share with me here is the feeling of being a foreigner, which I think most international students can relate to, and also a wacky, self-deprecating sense of humour. I feel like: if friends can’t make fun of each other, how can we help each other with more serious problems? Sometimes, friendship is just about laughing together and forgetting the serious stuff. Friends don’t need to show their appreciation with big actions. It’s all the small daily things that add up to a nice contribution to someone’s life.

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What do you like to do with your friends?

Relax

48%

Get a coffee or tea

41%

Hit the bars

35%

‘I have friends all over the world that I still speak to weekly’ Krissi Silianova (age 19) Frist year of Safety and Security Management Nationality: Bulgarian (raised in Greece) Number of real friends: 1-3 Number of Facebook friends: 1100

It’s been easy for me to make friends in the past, but definitely a bit awkward, because I’ve had to take the step of approaching others. There’s a vulnerability in initiating a friendship. Many of my older friendships aren’t just superficial; I have friends all over the world that I still speak to weekly. I think our social media tools are like a double-edged sword: they easily connect me to a friend in Africa or Greece, but they’re also a huge distraction in my daily life. Facebook is essential to keeping up with things, but by doing so, I feel like we sacrifice real contact with people. I take trust between friends pretty seriously, and usually follow my gut feeling when meeting new people at school. While I can’t befriend everyone in my classes, I think it’s a shame to spend so much time together and not get to know each other more personally, so I do make an effort. I have two really close girlfriends here, but I also like to be friends with guys just as much as girls. Guys often view situations differently, and it’s interesting to hear their opinions.

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It takes a few months for international students to adjust and they get lonely sometimes. Looking back on her first year, a European Studies student tells Link that: ‘It hit me around Christmas, when I started really missing my friends and my family.’ On the friendship survey, almost ninety per cent of the internationals said they had established new friendships in Holland within six months with new friends from all over the world. This includes locals – although people with a Dutch nationality form a minority in international cliques. However, no matter how good these new relationships may be, internationals state that most of their ‘real friends’ are back home. Tao Wang (see sidebar) sums it up: ‘I really have great friends here, but if I have to call someone in the middle of the night for my problems, I’ll turn to my friends in China.’


Legal briefs ‘The language barrier is hard to overcome’

Late registration = frustration

Tao Wang (age 24) First year of the Master in International Communication Management Nationality: Chinese Number of real friends: 4-6 Number of Facebook friends: 50 II didn’t go out of my way to make friends when I moved to The Hague, but I did notice that it was hard. I think nationality has a lot to do with the act of making friends. For example, the friends I have met are mostly Chinese, and we met through classes at the university, or through a popular Chinese website called GoGoDutch. In general, I think Chinese students tend to be a bit shyer as well, which makes other differences, like the language barrier, harder to overcome. It’s not impossible to make Dutch friends, but I think people on both sides need to be really looking for a new friendship. With the friends that I have made, different things help maintain the friendship. For example, one of my friends is a classmate who shares my passion for photography, and we have that as a great common activity. Another friend likes Karaoke, which I’m not so interested in, but I find myself up on stage once a month because she enjoys it so much. My best friend still lives in China, and the bond we have is still so strong. Years ago, when she broke up with her boyfriend, she went through a phase of calling me almost every night and just crying. I let her get it all out, and just reminded her that she has me to lean on. Looking back, it’s really the simplest but most important part of friendship, just being there for someone when they need you.

Student P. received a letter at the beginning of the school year that he is no longer enrolled, because he did not register in time. His academy claims he had more than enough time to get his affairs in order.  story Linda ten Veen

The facts P. failed to register for the 2013-2014 academic year before the final deadline on 30 September, meaning that he would not be able to continue his studies. However, P., who was hoping to graduate this year, claimed he was not properly informed that he would have to register online and requested that (temporary) measures be taken to allow him to return to school. He was, however, informed about the digital registration process in a letter he received in June and his study programme sent five reminders.

The arguments P. claims that he was unaware that anything was wrong with his registration and was not informed about changes to the procedure, despite the fact that the school could have reached him by mail or by phone. He also says it had not been made clear to him that important messages like this would only be sent digitally. As such, he feels that an exception should be made.

The counterarguments The Exam Board can’t make an exception because it would be against the law. The study programme claims that P. received five reminders (digitally) and claims that P. was well aware of how the school communicates about registration. At one point, he had received a letter informing him that registration could only be dealt with digitally from that point on.

The verdict Because P. was informed about the registration procedures for 2013-2014, the commission that considered his appeal decided there was no reason to make an exception or to move the final registration deadline. Student P. has admitted that his failure to register was his own responsibility and that he had received the letter explaining the digital registration procedure, which he did not read closely enough. His appeal was therefore rejected.

Do you have a bone to pick with the Exam Board? You don’t have to take it lying down. For the rules and procedures, visit the Legal Protection Desk or check out this page on the student portal: studentportal.hhs.nl/student-facilities/ student-counselling-advice/legal-protection-desk.

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Geluk

‘The Hague is the most challenging place’

‘It’s not the first time I’ve sat in this chair, but I still have to get used to it,’ said Leonard Geluk, days before taking over as Chairman of the Executive Board of The Hague University of Applied Sciences on 1 April, during an interview in his new and not yet familiar office. story René Rector • images Quintin van der Blonk

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eluk is replacing Rob Brons, who left THUAS in February, but not before taking the time to have a few conversations to fill Geluk in on what to expect. ‘I wanted to absorb, as much as possible, what is going on in the hearts and minds of the organisation, and that naturally involves a chat with your predecessor,’ he says.

What else did you do for preparation? ‘In February and march, I started wrapping up my work at ROC Midden Nederland, the school where I

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was running the board, I wanted to get right to work in April. The last period of the school year, just before summer vacation is the right moment, because there’s still time to help steer the course of the next school year.

Where will that course take you? THU is a well-known school. It’s thorough, solid and outward thinking, and the world around us knows who we are. Of course, the school has made clear choices about its profile, which is evident in its thematic priority areas and its research groups, for example. It fits naturally into the region and that creates a strong base from which to operate. My first impression is that it goes without saying that the organisations and businesses in the area look at us as a knowledge partner. That said, our ties with the region could be stronger. That’s the role that the Scientific Council for Government Policy recommended for Universities of Applied Sciences in its widely discussed report ‘Towards a Learning Economy.’ Education –


because someone in Parliament says so or because it is said that ‘Universities of Applied Science are under fire,’ but because we are preparing people to contribute to society and that has to be our starting point. In practice, that creates a major dilemma. There are no obstacles at the front door, but a high quality standard at the exit. That’s asking a lot of our teachers. One thing that surprises me is that we have agreed on the expectation that a student should invest 1,600 hours in their studies each year to earn a diploma, but we still accept the fact that students who put in a lot less time and effort can still get their diploma. This is Leonard Geluk (43) was born in Dordrecht. He something you see throughdeveloped an early interest in politics and became out higher education, by the a member of the CDA (Christian Democrats) at way. I think we should look for sixteen. He studied law and graduated from Erasmus study success solutions inside University in Rotterdam in 1994. That same year he this contradiction. Education ran as lead candidate for the CDA in the Rotterdam should challenge students and district of Delfshaven and won a seat in the local the standards have to be high. council. Since then, he worked in various capacities I think that if you make the until he became the alderman for Education and effort, you should succeed, but Youth in Rotterdam in 2004. Here’s an interesting if you don’t, I won’t have any detail: while serving as alderman, Geluk sent a letter problem seeing you go. to local parents warning them not to send their kids

Curriculum Vitae

with an emphasis on Applied Sciences – and the small and medium-sized businesses must, through effective cooperation, become the motor that will power our economic growth. I agree with that. That’s the horizon we’re heading for.

So, if there is a specific problem that businesses or regional government authorities don’t have the knowledge to solve, THUAS should be the first door they knock on. Is that happening? We can’t afford to think small. We’re here for our students and for the companies and organisations in our area. Our focus has to be clear. Based on the policy plans I’ve seen, the agreements we’ve made about results with the Education Ministry, the annual reports and the conversations I’ve had so far, I get the sense that not everyone could tell you what, exactly, is on the horizon for THUAS. We have to make choices.

What, in general, should these choices represent? It is not only up to me to decide that, but because I haven’t see any explicit statement about our values yet, I’m very curious about it. On the one hand, we believe that there should be a place for everyone here, but on the other, none of us wants to compromise on quality. I agree with the second part, because, if you look at the world around us, quality is what it needs most. I think we have to guarantee that quality, and not

That’s an approach that’s characteristic of your career. As alderman for Education in Rotterdam, you tried to keep everyone on board, but only as long as they were willing to put in the work themselves.

to an underperforming high school called the Ibn Ghaldoun College – something that was forbidden by a judge before Geluk won an appeal against the decision. In 2009, Geluk became Chairman of the Executive Board of ROC Midden Nederland, a vocational education organisation in Utrecht. He is leaving that post behind to take over at The Hague University. He lives in Rotterdam with his wife and three children.

I think that perseverance is very important. That’s why I’m excited about working at this school. There are plenty of opportunities of Amsterdam or Utrecht – to say nothing of the rest of the country, but Rotterdam and The Hague, which are both beautiful cities, have their own sorts of challenges. Educated people often move away and things are more difficult. These types of social problems are evident in higher education and that means that THUAS can make a difference, especially here in The Hague. If this school was located somewhere else, I wouldn’t have been interested in the job. The Hague was a conscious choice.

That sounds more complicated than taking a leadership position in a region where things are easier That’s true. Together with Rotterdam, The Hague is the most challenging city. At the end of my career as an alderman, I said ‘I want to be a good leader.’ I want to manage organisations that are socially relevant and I believe The Hague University can be the engine that powers this city forward.

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Study stress

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When failure is

NOT AN OPTION Do you get a little nervous before an important exam? Doesn’t everybody? For some, it’s no more than a healthy motivator, but for others, it’s something different. For some students, everything has to be more than perfect and nothing is ever good enough. That’s a fear of failure.  story Astrid Prins • images Barbara Mulderink

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ou studied hard, planned effectively and you’re ready for anything, but still you’re scared that it won’t work out, or – even worse – that your mind will go blank in the middle of a test and you can’t answer a single question. That is a genuine fear of failure. According to a study that was conducted at ten universities and five universities of applied sciences, four out of ten students in the Netherlands claim to suffer from extreme stress during their studies. At The Hague University of Applied Sciences, that number is as high as six out of ten. Students at THUAS apparently experience more study stress than their peers around the country. In 51 per cent of these cases (and more

often with women than men) this high stress level results in a fear of failure. But what is that, exactly?

Fight or Flight It starts with stress, which puts pressure on the processes in the brain. When a person experiences anxiety, special stress hormones are released into the bloodstream that prepare the body to either fight or flee the scene and run away. This ‘fight or flight’ response is a basic human instinct that elevates the heart rate and raises blood pressure, which can cause the body to sweat, among other things. This can create problems when a stressful situation lasts

‘I was obsessed with school’

Sanne* never failed anything at school, because she wouldn’t allow it, but she paid a high price: classmates didn’t understand her and she suffered physical symptoms.

every class. My classmates didn’t understand and some even thought I was being abused at home, while that was absolutely not the case.

‘I’ve had a fear of failure for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t so bad back in primary school. It wasn’t until my first year of Pre-vocational High School (vmbo) that it became a problem. I did well in school and got good grades, so you might think I had nothing to be afraid of, but I only wanted nines and tens and I just couldn’t keep it together mentally. I didn’t allow myself any mistakes and I let my whole world revolve around school. Everything I did had to be perfect. Eventually, I couldn’t eat in the morning and I started crying during almost

On the night before an exam I could barely sleep and I woke up hours before the alarm with a stomachache from the nerves. My mentor saw the sign that something was wrong and got me into a training for people with fear of failure, where I learned how to deal with it. After that, things got better, but the fear is still with me, especially when I enter a new environment. As a result, the switch to studying at a University of Applied Sciences forced me to fight my fears all over again. I became obsessed

with school. I got my first-year diploma in one year without any re-sits and kept going, but in the summer after the second year I broke down. I got a lot of support from my Educational Career Supervisor and my parents and I sought help from a mental coach outside of school who helped me to visualise things better. Now, things are going well, but the fear will always be a part of me.’

Sanne studies at the Academy of European Studies & Communication Management

* The names in this story have been changed at the students’ request to respect the students’ privacy.

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‘Am I going keep doing this till I’m 80 or am I going to get help?’ Because of insecurity and extreme perfectionism, nothing Daniel* did was ever good enough in his eyes. Eventually, this exhausted him mentally and physically. ‘I’ve always been a perfectionist and insecure. During my exams in high school I started noticing that something was wrong. I had a lot of negative thoughts, like ‘what if I’m the only one who doesn’t pass?’ or ‘what do I do if I have to re-do this?’ I was afraid of disappointing myself and the people around me. After my final exams, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was completely wiped out. My back hurt so much from all that non-stop studying that I could hardly walk. Ultima-

tely, I had to go to a physical therapist and I needed a lot of bed rest. When I started my current programme, I ran into the same problem. In the first few weeks, all I wanted to do was study, no matter where I was. I would re-read everything in the train on the way to school and even when I was cooking I’d have a book in my hand. I was constantly fixated on school. At night, I couldn’t sleep because I felt like I wasn’t going to make it and because of this feeling, I often waited until the last possible minute to do my assignments. My mother works in healthcare and she recognised the classic fear of failure

a long time, because the blood carries more oxygen to the body instead of the brain. Normally, the effect wears off quickly, but for people who suffer from fear of failure, the fight or flight reaction is stronger and lasts longer. You remain alert for longer periods and the tension doesn’t stop, which can wear you out, emotionally and physically.

symptoms in me. I once went through two days with only one hour of sleep and couldn’t talk about anything but school. When I found myself exhausted after the first exam round, I decided to address this. I thought to myself: ‘Am I going to keep doing this until I’m eighty or am I going to get help?’ After a talk with my supervisor and the school counsellor (decaan) I went to see the school psychologist. I’ve only been working on it for a short while, but I already feel calmer and have more confidence in myself.’

Daniel studies at the Academy of Public Management, Safety and Law.

on exams or assignments,’ says Marieke Lambeek, a school psychologist at THUAS. Fear of social failure refers to the environment and public places. ‘Asking a question in class can be a major obstacle for these students,’ says Lambeek, ‘but so can a nice evening singing karaoke in the pub.’ There is also a type of fear of failure with regard to motor skills and movement. ‘For example,’ says Lambeek, ‘a person’s muscles can feel stiff or numb during an important sporting event.’

Clear your head Lambeek deals with a lot of students suffering from fear of failure, though she notes that ‘to be honest, I rarely see cases that are purely about that one thing. It’s usually a mix of different situations that create stress and can lead to fear of failure.’

Karaoke Fear of failure manifests itself in three different ways. Fear of cognitive failure refers to concerns about brainpower and schoolwork. ‘It’s about performance

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Lambeek lays out some tips for dealing with these fears: ‘Make sure you plan your time effectively and make time to rest. Arrange it so that by time it’s the night before the exam, you don’t need to study anymore. You should also make time to eat right and exercise. If you exercise, you can clear your head and you’ll have less energy to waste on worry. And don’t forget the importance of relaxation. Try some relaxation exercises – you can find a lot of information online – and make sure you talk about your fears with your classmates, teachers, your supervisor or the school counsellor (decaan), so that they know what’s going on. If you can’t beat it on your own, make an appointment with the school psychologist at studentpsycholoog@hhs.nl.’


Culture shock

The weird and funny habits of

THE DUTCH

Everyone knows the common stereotypes about the Dutch, but is there really any truth to it? Kerttu Henriksson, Law student and Link contributor, investigated how the foreigners living in the Netherlands think about the culture, and what Dutch people think of these ideas. story Kerttu Henriksson • images Bas Kijzers/Shutterstock

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The oddities of a country are in the eyes of the beholder. When you live in a foreign country, you’ll notice that things work a little differently than at home. Once you get used to the most common Dutch behaviour, their boldness and tendency to sip coffee all day long, it’s time to look for an explanation for the more complicated oddities.

An organized lifestyle with no flexibility The African saying, ‘The Europeans have the clock, but we have time,’ must have been invented with the Dutch colonists in mind. The Dutch live for their agendas. Hewan Teshom (31) from Ethiopia, who studies Nursing, says: ‘In the Netherlands, you always have to make an appointment beforehand instead of spontaneously visiting a friend, and you can never be late for your appointment. The mentality of the Dutch is very organized; there is no time for flexibility. But when are you supposed to have the free time to enjoy life, if everything is planned?’ Ursin Kelly (28), a student of Dutch law from Aruba, recognizes the same: ‘People always seem busier here. I believe it is because of the business-minded mentality. Here, laziness is not appreciated, and I don’t think it is a bad thing.’ Do the Dutch themselves think that they are organized? ‘In general, I think it’s true. Although, I am an exception; I don’t even have a calendar,’ says Twan van Marrewijck (22), a Dutch student of Small Business Management. However, he needs to leave after five minutes. ‘I have an appointment and I can’t be late. I know, this punctuality is very Dutch,’ he says.

Liberality For some foreigners, the Dutch culture seems very liberal. Besides the common idea that all of the Dutch smoke cannabis and enjoy the Red light-district, which might be a little exaggerated, this liberality can be seen in different habits of the Dutch.

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‘I went to spend a day at a spa with my boyfriend. I am from Norway, so I am used to saunas, and our culture is seen as quite liberal. However, I was shocked once I noticed that in the Dutch sauna and pool we had to take our swimsuits off! Everyone was naked! This would never be the case in Norway,’ says second-year International Law student Trude Kristensen (21). ‘After the first shock of being uncomfortably naked in front of everyone, I got used to it and the experience was relaxing in the end.’ So, what do the Dutch think about public nudity? ‘The first time I went to a public sauna, I was shocked by the nudity,’ says Mike Tiney (25), a Dutch student of Commercial Economics. ‘However, you do get used to it, and now I like going to the sauna every month or so. Why should it be awkward? We are all just people, right? There are people of all ages and types. One time, a 40-year old woman who was sitting in the same hut tub started up a conversation with me. First I found it weird, but luckily it turned out to be just an innocent chat.’ During the summer, you can notice another sample of the Dutch liberality; topless sunbathing is quite common on Dutch beaches. However, if you want to leave your bathing suit at home, you’ll have to go to a nudist beach. You can, for example, find one near Scheveningen in The Hague.

Splitting the bill: ‘Going Dutch’ When it comes to generosity, the Dutch lack a flattering image. According to the common generalisation, the Dutch are careful – sometimes even greedy – with their money. For example, foreign girls should not be surprised when, after the first date with a Dutch guy,


he asks to split the bill equally. This habit is recognized universally; the saying ‘going Dutch’ is used when each person pays their own portion. ‘To me, this is rude,’ says Lauma (20), a second-year International Law student from Latvia. ‘At home, the guy would automatically pay if they

Ruud Parlevliet (20), a Dutch student of Human Resource Management, tries to explain the habit of splitting the bill. ‘I don’t think I am cheap. The first dates I can pay for, but I find it normal to split the bill later in the relationship,’ he says. ‘You have to give a good impression, be the nice guy.’ When asked why doesn’t he want to keep being the nice guy and continue paying for the girl later, he laughs. ‘Well, I guess I am a little cheap, after all.’ However, he offers an explanation: ‘I think most women want equality in the relationship and wouldn’t feel comfortable having everything paid for them all the time.’

Buying two beers instead of one

were the one inviting you out. To me, it doesn’t show good manners if a guy demands to split the bill on the first date. Later, we can both pay.’ This culture of only taking care of yourself can also be observed in other situations. ‘The Dutch will never share their food,’ says Adil Yousfi (23) a Dutch student of Nursing. ‘If someone happens to give you his mayonnaise, he must be your best friend.’ Dutch friends Michael (24) and Mike (25), who study Commercial Economics, recognize this. ‘If I am having dinner and he calls me and asks if he can come over, I will finish my dinner first,’ says Michael, while Mike says, ‘I know to respect that and I will wait until he has finished.’ However, Mike says that, ‘the culture is different in my family in Curaçao. Over there, we always cook extra and invite everyone to eat.’ When it comes to splitting the bill, neither of the friends would let the girl pay. ‘Making the girl pay is not being a gentleman. I just took my ex-girlfriend out for sushi, and paid the 100 euro bill.

Verena Michaeler (22), a second-year International Law student from Italy, has noticed that the Dutch often carry two beers in their hands while they are out with their friends on the Grote Markt or in a club, partying. ‘It seems convenient, but I wonder about the reason for this habit,’ she says. Rachelle Sarkis (20), a Dutch, first-year student of International Law, offers an explanation: ‘The cups for drinks are always very small. If you only buy one, you’re done with your beer after two sips. It’s handy to buy two. Then you don’t have to go back right away to get more drinks.’ Nicolle Guerovich (23), a second-year student of International Law who is also Dutch, adds: ‘We also have a habit with my friends of buying rounds in turns. But then you need more than two beers in your hand!’

I was the one who invited her, so I can expect to pay,’ says Mike.

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Security

WATCHING the watchmen

Thousands of students pass by it every day: Security’s operations control centre. There, in the aquarium at the main entrance to the main campus is where the THUAS security officers keep watch over the buildings of The Hague University of Applied Sciences. ‘You have to know what you’re doing to work here.’ story Youri van Vliet • images Bas Kijzers

‘H

ere they come,’ says Roy Kalloe (age 35). It’s 8:30 in the morning, and the ‘water zebra’ that was still empty shortly before is now teeming with people. ‘A train must have just pulled in at Hollands Spoor,’ concludes Roy. Some of the arrivals enter and then turn left straight towards the control centre’s reception desk to collect a key or beeper. Before they can even ask for it, Roy has already picked out the right key. ‘You get to know a lot of people here,’ he says with a smile. Roy and Baris Lirau (age 36) are the two-man team on duty in the control centre − the security officers’ nerve centre − during the morning shift. Flickering on six screens are images of various rooms, classrooms and corridors at the various campuses. Their

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supervisor, Jeroen Frieser, is also there. ‘You name it, and we’ve seen it,’ says Jeroen, the security coordinator for Profi-Sec, the company that supplies THUAS with its security services. ‘We caught someone red-handed the other day. A student was trying to pay with counterfeit vouchers. He’d already done that before so when we caught sight of him, we followed him with our cameras. Just as he was handing over the voucher, we arrested him on the spot and turned him in to the police. For us, these kinds of things really make our day.’ Meanwhile, Baris returns from a round of opening up computer classrooms. ‘Anything going on?’ asks Roy. ‘Not really,’ replies Baris. ‘Ali, the cleaner in the library, says that his eyes are bothering him.


I told him he should drop by if it gets worse.’ The telephone’s emergency line rings. Roy answers it briskly: ‘Emergency services... No, this is the emergency number,’ he says and hangs up quickly. ‘That was one of our colleagues. He should know better. The emergency number [Ed. 8000] has to be kept open at all times in case something happens.’ Profi-Sec has been in charge of the security services at THUAS since 2013. Around twelve men and women operate in three shifts, 24 hours a day, five days a week, to keep an eye on the building. THUAS is completely deserted during the weekends but some security officers are still on call; if an alarm goes off, that officer has to be on the scene within thirty minutes. ‘If you’re on call, a weekend in Groningen isn’t in the cards,’ jokes Jeroen. A student in a wheelchair reports in at the desk. Baris jumps to it and picks out the key to the wheelchair lift that will get her to the foyer. ‘Talking about service...,’ says Baris with a wink. Shortly before that, he has mentioned that Profi-Sec is expected to give hospitality a ‘high priority’. ‘But we see that as only natural,’ Jeroen adds. ‘That means that we sometimes open a door for a staff member or replace the batteries in locks, but our key responsibility is ensuring security.’ When it comes to this, Jeroen gives a whole series of examples of things that the security services are involved in: opening the doors in the morning and closing them in the evening, patrolling the area several times during the day to make sure that you’re ‘visible’, checking the emergency phones in the lift and the toilet for the disabled to make sure that they still work, checking the fire extinguishers and replacing them if necessary, providing first aid if anyone becomes unwell... and if you’re one of those smokers who lights up inside the no-smoking lines, it’s a security officer who will remind you not to.

do this work. I’ve sometimes taken a pedometer along − on an average day, you can easily walk half a marathon.’ Then the lights go out. It’s 23:00 and THUAS is being locked up for the night. A slightly irritated staff member stops by the desk: ‘Don’t we get a sign anymore that the school is closing?’ The security officers can look back on an uneventful day. ‘Despite the thousands of students and staff members, nothing much happens around here,’ concludes Yücel. ‘Security guys in the trams now need to carry handcuffs around, but we don’t have to. People get a little disorderly once in a while, or students like to sneak a puff of marijuana sometimes, but the majority simply don’t want to mess up their future.’

A few hours later, Richard Janssen (age 30) and Murat Aksu (age 24) are working the evening shift and Yücel Nehir (age 32) is preparing to take over the night shift. It’s almost closing time, and the security team is making its last round to check that all the lights are out and all the doors and windows are closed. ‘The worst thing I ever experienced was a couple having sex,’ Richard lets slip as he patrols the Slinger. ‘“Get your pants back on and head on home to mum,” I shouted.’ Richard’s forehead is sweating as he strides from room to room. ‘Yeah, you better enjoy walking if you

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Gems READER CAMPAIGN You’ve probably almost forgotten all about him, but Julian Assange has already spent two years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. In April 2010, this internet activist and founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, amassed worldwide recognition with his video Collateral Damage: a film that showed an incident with an American helicopter, in which twelve people The Fifth Estate and some journalists were killed.

Win

one of the 5 DVDs

The return of Elle Bandita After being at odds with herself for a year, Elle Bandita is back with a new band and album. Her life motto is: ‘Rules are there to be broken, just like noses.’ This can clearly be seen from her underarm hair, lack of a bra and rough rock music in this album, which she has named after herself. To pay for the album, the 28-yearold musician appeared on a number of television shows these past few months. This included her appearance in the programme Op zoek naar God (Looking for God), where, incidentally, she met her beloved Christina Curry. She then took part in partner-swapping in the programme Jouw vrouw mijn vrouw (Your Wife My Wife). She invested her earnings from the shows into her album. The result is impressive. Her third album is way more dynamic and melodious than the first two. The album opens with Paganize, a solid rock tune that comes out particularly well when performed live. The rhythms and Elle’s use of voice are reminiscent of Guano Apes, which has an equally tough front woman. The rest of the album maintains this rugged sound with lots of guitar solos and tight drums. Yet Elle also reveals her softer side. In Black Hole, Elle shows more vulnerability than ever before. It starts with a serene waltz that

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gradually becomes more intense as the song progresses. She puts lots of emotion into her singing, giving the song a range of depths and feel – one moment it feels sweet and charming, a second later much darker. This intense feel can also be heard in The wicked get what the wicked want, a mellower tune in which the tension builds up relentlessly with low background sounds, cryptic singing and a little guitar support. Simple, but effective. With her latest album, Elle Bandita shows that she’s a born musician and should not attempt any other career. Hopefully, she is now also aware that music is her calling and won’t stray from this path any time soon. • IvB

The Australian was still making the news in the months to come with his revelations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the publication of countless official diplomatic reports. But then his problems started. Two Swedish women accused the Australian of rape. Ultimately, the higher court’s verdict was not in his favour: Assange was supposed to be extradited to Sweden. But nine days before that could happen, he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has been to this very day. ‘The Fifth Estate’ roughly follows Assange’s progress from unknown activist to what he became later: the whistleblower followed by half the world’s population. If you would like to win one of the five copies of this DVD, answer the following question: when was WikiLeaks launched? Send in your answer before 9 May to link@hhs.nl.

Welcome to O’Casey’s Irish Pub

O’Casey’s is the biggest international bar of tm The Hague

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Elle Bandita Album: Elle Bandita Genre: Rock

Come in and enjoy a pint of and some of our traditional Irish food. We offer daily entertainment on 2 floors and in Sarah’s Garden wich used to be part of our Queen’s Royal Gardens

Noordeinde 140 The Haque Holland • www.ocaseys.nl


War drama lapses into stereotypes The Railway Man tells the story of Eric Lomax, a British officer who was tortured by the Japanese army during World War II. All of this takes place under the watchful eye of an interpreter, Takashi Nahase. When Eric discovers that this man is still alive, he decides to take revenge . Although the film is graced by Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, it is Jeremy Irvine, who plays the young Eric Lomax, who deserves all the credit for his convincing acting

skills he demonstrates during the explicit torture scenes. It is unfortunate, however, that the film portrays all the Japanese as impassive screaming men. The film could have had more depth if it had also given an idea of ‘the enemy’s perspective’. • IvB

The Railway Man Genre: Drama In cinemas on May 1

‘Extremely good food for extremely little money.’ That’s the concept for the relatively new Asian restaurant: Sticky Rice. For now, however, this concept is still a theory.

Pearl Liu may live in Leiden but The Hague is where this secondyear student in International Communication Management often spends time undertaking recreational activities or getting together with friends.   story Claire Schouten image Quintin van der Blonk

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Sticky Rice doesn’t stick to the memory

Sticky Rice (with rice fields on the wall) offers four cuisines: from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. That sounded promising, and, since our group was pretty big, we tried out as many as possible. Something else you should know: Sticky Rice doesn’t serve its food in courses. Everything you order is prepared at the same time. Before you know it, your table is overflowing with egg rolls, lempers (chicken-filled sticky rice), Malaysian soup, saté ajam, and main dishes from Bangkok (cashew chicken, broccoli and shrimps in green curry), Singapore (curry-flavoured noodles and shrimps) and the Indonesian classic known as istimewa (beef, chicken, spicy beans and an egg). Opinions later were divided. My table companions were very pleased with the Bangkok menu and the soup.

MY THE HAGUE

The main dish from Indonesia was rather disappointing, the one from Singapore obviously hadn’t spent enough time in the microwave, and the miscellaneous snacks didn’t really tingle our taste buds. Because the main dishes weren’t all that large, we had to order a few extra snacks on the side. This, plus the relatively expensive drinks, meant that we were easily spending around fifteen to twenty euros per person. Sticky Rice, if you want to see us back again, you’ll have to make your food just a little tastier. • YvV

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Sticky Rice − from Bangkok to Bali Anna van Buerenplein 48 Babylon (next to Den Haag Centraal railway station)

CULTURE > Museum de Gevangenpoort (Buitenhof 33) I’m a big fan of Western culture. Since I’m Chinese, it’s a lot different to what I’m used to. To get a real feel for a country’s culture and history, I’ve found visits to museums especially worthwhile. The most interesting museum I’ve visited so far is the Gevangenpoort, or Prison Gate Museum. SHOPPING > Amazing Oriental (Grote Marktstraat 113) Sometimes, I really miss the food from home. That’s why I often cook Chinese myself since this is the closest I can get to what I’m used to eating. And the best Chinese supermarket in The Hague, I think, is the Amazing Oriental. I can find everything I need there, and they also carry lots and lots of fresh products. SCHOOL > THUAS It might sound funny, but school is one of my hotspots. I recently realised that this, after all, is the place where I’m learning so much. It’s where I’ve been able to improve my skills like making presentations and writing essays. It’s also the place where I’ve met my friends. So as you can see, THUAS has become a big part of my life. RELAXATION > The beach at Scheveningen I’ve been to several beaches, but Scheveningen is my favourite. It’s the best beach to visit in the summer because you can do so many things there. During the warm months of the year, you can enjoy the sun and also go shopping and eat great food. For me, these three things make the perfect day off! FOOD > Kee Lun Place (Wagenstraat 95) As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the few restaurants where you can eat real Chinese food at a reasonable price. The food is authentic Chinese and always delicious. I don’t eat out often, but when I do, this is still the place where I often wind up after all.

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Melting Pot A Kenyan dish to die for Don’t wait until the next funeral you attend in Kenya to enjoy this mildly spicy, yet wholly tasty rice dish that’s a snap to make in one pot. International and European Law student Josephine Gommans (22) shares this easy recipe. story Danielle Peterson •

make it all the time – it is a funeral dish after all – so I learned how to make it myself. It’s easy to find all the necessary spices here in The Hague, in African grocery stores.

What are funerals like in Kenya?

image Mieke Barendse

What is this dish? Pilau is a rice dish made with spices, tomato, onion, and meat. It’s officially a funeral dish, but anyone from Kenya who can cook knows how to make it. I had it for the first time at a funeral in Mombasa, but it’s so good that when my family moved to Canada

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RECIPE ON LINK ONLINE For the recipe and a short video on how to make pilau, go to http://link-en.hhs.nl when I was twelve, my brothers and I would always ask my mom to make it. She didn’t want to

We do traditional mourning, not crying, because we do it all day and you get too tired after just an hour of crying. People die in the city but they get buried in the village where they are from, and most of the time the whole village will show up for the funeral. Feeding people is very important in African hospitality culture, so when you have a funeral in a village, thousands of people might need to be fed.

Why is pilau so special at a funeral? Meat is expensive and a privilege and not something that most people in Africa eat everyday. This is a meat dish that can be made for a lot of people by upping the amount of rice cooked with the meat. People expect it at a funeral; if your family doesn’t serve it, mourners won’t talk about the life you led, they’ll talk about how pilau wasn’t served at your funeral!

Would you like to invite Link into your kitchen and give us a taste of your home country? Send an e-mail to link@hhs.nl.

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In this new all English edition Link published the results of the friendship survey. A sneak preview: the average THUAS student counted six...

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