If you are reading the following lines, you may be at least vaguely familiar with that amazing association that is ESN Utrecht. Now what you may not know are the people in charge of ESN Utrecht, a board of six Dutchies with atrocious Santa Klaus-red jumpers. You may be already aware of Aniek, our blonde and joyful president who normally gives the speeches, and Laurens, our PR Coordinator who recently hosted our (Beer) Cantus.
However, there are still four more, perhaps less visible, but nonetheless still great characters working (now that is a big word!) for you at the office in Achter Sint Pieter. These are respectively Denise the secretary; Hanne the Integration Coordinator; Marloes the Treasurer, and Mats the fundraiser and vice-president. We had a brief chat with them.
- What do you exactly do?
Denise: I’m in charge of all the internal and external communication: if you send a mail to ESN Utrecht I’ll be the one to answer you! I’m also the coordinator of the Introduction Committee and the Archive Committee, and the pick-up service.
Hanne: As integration coordinator, I supervise activities like the Discover Holland Weekends, really nice if you want to spend the days together with the international students and connecting with them. At the same time, I take care of the social events, also with the ProCo, such as the Hospital Activity, during which we bring international students to an hospital to carry help. Quite different from partying, but there’s definitely more depth into these activities.
Mats: I am responsible for all the partners and venues. I make sure we stay in touch with them and ESN can get a good service out of them.
Marloes: I spend a lot of time at the computer, taking care of the bookkeeping system and taking care of all the receipts on my beautiful desk. I divide all the money that ESN has among all the activities, so that the prices of each of them are realistic and coherent.
- Ok but what do you ACTUALLY do?
Denise: Mmh…I stay every day at the office doing things?
Marloes: I make sure that all the bills are paid!
Mats: I make sure that all the girls in the board keep focused here in our chicken cage.
Hanne: (emphatic pause) Nothing!
- What did you think of your fellow Board members when you first saw them?
Mats: Run, RUN!
Marloes: It felt unreal to know that I had to spend a year with them…a pretty weird feeling!
Hanne: the girls seemed really nice. Laurens a bit quiet, and Mats…well, I really liked all of them, but he seemed like a crazy guy.
Denise: Uh weird…but I just want to say how lucky I feel to be a ESN Board member! They are so cute right? The highlight of my days! (all the others go “aaawwww” and I stop recording!)
- What is your favourite ESN activity?
Denise: The introduction week, when you get the chance to meet all the new international students. But I also really like the International kitchen: not only you eat good food, but you can also sit down and have a chat with other students, you don’t always have this chance!
Mats: Well weekend abroads of course are always an epic moment, but laser-tag is pretty awesome as well. And of course the Cantus, two hours of craziness!
Hanne: Definitely, the activities organised by the Project Committee or the Cultural Committee (n.b. the committees she’s a member of)
Marloes: Forrest games night. A very creative idea…budget wise! (n.b. did we already mention she is the treasurer?)
- What is your favourite nationality?
Denise: I really like people, I don’t want to divide them in nationalities! (I try to ask her about her least favourite one then, but nope, only diplomatic answers!)
Mats: I should say Tunisian but…nah I’ll stick to that answer in public!
Hanne: I like Australians! They can be loud and drunk but they always make sure you have something to look at, and I always have fun with them!
Marloes: Spanish ! They are always in a big group and they know all the Spanish songs and how to dance them in Poema! (she notices my expression) Uh, should have I said Italians?
- Finally, what is the weirdest thing you have heard or seen from an international student so far this year?
Denise: Sometimes they expect me to be the secretary of a travel agency. We are not, but that’s not our fault!
Marloes: At the beginning of one of our first activities, it was raining and an international came to me asking me if we were still doing it. Well, welcome to the Netherlands, just wear a poncho!
Mats: My heart always breaks a bit when somebody who just got a new ESN card immediately pull out the white strip and the sticker: it should stay there forever!
Hanne: Smuggling your own booze in club Poema, and getting caught while doing it. Come on, if you really have to do it, at least do it right!
By Claudio Agnesa