At WIS Club students help each other through games & karaoke

As an international student it can be tough to find your way in a completely new environment. Especially in the first year. But don’t worry, because our school hosts many internationals who are going through the same, or who already experienced it and are happy to help. They get together every month in the new Wellbeing in Science club (WIS).

Voorzitter van de WIS Club van ATBC Liudmyla Zhukovska

To get an idea of what the WIS Club is for and why you should join, we spoke to its chair: Liudmyla ‘Myla’ Zhukovska (20). “Our main aim is to support international students and help them connect with each other”, she says. “The best way to do that is to meet up and do fun things together, in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere.”

Open to new ideas

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, ‘members’ of the WIS Club get together to have some drinks and, for instance, order pizza’s and play boardgames. “But it could be anything, we’re always open to new ideas. If there’s a nice party in the city for instance, we can go there. And for our last meet-up, we heard that the bio-informatics students were having a karaoke night and joined them. That was really nice.”

The WIS Club was founded last March by Myla’s predecessor Sofia Aparicio González. It’s not even a year old, but already has around 60 people in its community. They stay updated on the club’s events in their WhatsApp group. “At the start of the year, we organized a meet-up in the park to break the ice. We’re also planning to do a weekend trip to another city, and there’s much more to come”, Myla says.

Practical matters

It's important to note that during these get-togethers, there’s plenty of room for students to discuss practical matters like VISA’s, housing issues, degree-related paperwork and travelling within the Netherlands. Because that’s also what WIS Club is for. The club’s board, which currently consists of 3 students, simply found that the most effective way to support students is through informal networking rather than formal meetings.

Myla is a 3rd year Life Sciences student. At WIS Club, she’s building on the basis that was laid by her predecessor. “Sofia started the club, because she saw how important it is for international students to have a safe place to go to, and to feel welcomed in their first year. There are also student supervisors you can go to, of course, if the issue is really persistent. But if you have friends who can help you, that’s even better.”

Exciting start

Arriving at a new school, in a completely new environment can be very exciting, Myla knows. “I was 17 when I came to Nijmegen and remember being super nervous. Luckily I had a sister who already lived in the Netherlands, so she could tell me a lot about how public transportation works and shops to go to. If you need a screwdriver for instance, it’s nice to know you can buy one cheap at Action, haha. But many students don’t have a relative like that here, of course.”

Myla emphasizes that you don’t need to be a first year student to join the club. Or even an international student, for that matter. “Everyone is welcome, and we encourage senior year students to join as well, because their experience can be of much help to others. Our only rule, is that you speak English.”

If you want to know more about WIS Club or if you’d like to join, you can contact them through the QR code

Photo David van Haren