Tom Maandag – Vice President/Secretary – 2018/2019
Hello! Growing up in the Dutch countryside I moved to Rotterdam almost 5 years ago. Living in a big and international city like Rotterdam was completely new for me, but I enjoyed it from the start! After a very brief attempt to study Econometrics I realized I was not made for that. Therefore, I switched to Economics and Business Economics and combined this with a second bachelor in fiscal economics (fiscale economie). Apart from studying I like to bike around Rotterdam and visit nearby villages (only when the weather is good though). Also, I have a part-time job on the side in order to be able to pay all my expenses
Contrary to what you might expect from an ESN board member, I don’t have that much international experience. Going abroad was not a thing in my high school and both my bachelors were taught in Dutch (not that much international influences). It was only in my third year of studies that I really got to experience a more international environment, because I did an exchange semester in Prague. You could say that I fell in love with the international community and decided to be more active when I came back to Rotterdam. This resulted in my application to the ESN social committee last year.
Why a board year?
Last year was kind of a trial for me. By joining the social committee I was able to learn more about ESN and get more involved in the international community. I really liked being a part of the committee and at the same time I felt like I could do even more. During my fourth (and final) year of my bachelor I decided that I wanted to do something else before starting my masters. After some research I realized that a position in the board of ESN would be a perfect opportunity to fill up my year without having to study. Being a part of one of the committees made the decision even easier since I got the know the previous board quite well. By doing a board year I expected to gain and improve many skills. Of course, I also figured that a board year would be a great addition to my CV. However, the main reason to apply for the board must be the fact that I enjoyed being a member of the social committee so much! The prospect of helping out international students really appealed to me and in general I consider myself the kind of person that is always willing to help other people out.
Why Secretary/ Vice president
When considering all the possible board positions I decided to apply to be the next secretary/vice president. As I mentioned before, I knew the previous (10th) board quite well. Therefore, I already knew quite a lot about the responsibilities of all the board members. The function of secretary/vice president really appealed to me because you are really involved with everything that is going on within the organization. Being the first point of contact for many (new) outside partners you know what your fellow board members are working on and often times you are kept in the loop.
The position of secretary/vice president might not come to your mind as your first preference when you apply for a board position. And I have to admit, I didn’t apply for this position because taking notes is my true passion. However, taking notes is extremely valuable for the organization and you really learn a lot from it. During meetings, you extract and write down key information and this might also come in handy when you continue your studies after your board year (taking notes during lectures will be going way smoother with your experience now). Also, taking notes is just one of the tasks that come with the job. As the secretary/vice president you really are in the middle of the organization and are working together with all the other board members. All in all, the secretary/vice president job is extremely versatile and there is a lot you can gain from it. For most of the tasks you will be learning by doing and I have no regrets of applying for this position whatsoever!
Obviously, I have to deal with the different kind of ‘classical’ secretary tasks. I take notes during our board meetings, I am the first contact person of our organization and make sure all information goes through to the right board member and/or committee. Besides this, I take care of our office hours schedule (so there are always board members present in the office to help out visitors). My function does not only entail internal communication though. For instance, the secretary is in touch with the international officers on campus to discuss practical manners and seek ways to improve our services to international students.
The secretary is also the so-called ‘buddy coordinator’. This means that you will be responsible of the buddy programme. You are responsible for recruiting and training the buddies, making sure all incoming students are being matched to a buddy and host events for the buddies and their students. Regarding the buddy programme, you will be in close contact with the international office (e.g. the trainings are organized together with them). Since the buddy programme exploded in size over the past years, a challenge for the upcoming year is to create a good system in order to maintain the quality of the program.
Wen it comes to the vice president part, this is mainly replacing the president when this is needed. However, for the upcoming year, the secretary does not necessarily have to be the vice president. This could also be linked to one of the other board positions.
Looking for more information? Don’t hesitate to contact me by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life after ESN // Emma Smit – Hamilton // First Board
The year as board member of ESN-Rotterdam gave me a taste of running an organization and working closely with team members. Besides these valuable insights it also gave me the opportunity to meet and work with new people – both students and staff – from all faculties at EUR. Being in the founding board, we mostly spent our time on setting up this new student organisation; while also trying to plan the first activities. Working wi th different personalities made this for quite some interesting yet challenging discussions; but an end result we were (are!) all incredibly proud of. My absolute highlight was the first Official Welcome in February 2009 – where we finally got to see all our planning and paperwork in action in the form of 300 super excited international students in CB-5! I can wholeheartedly recommend a board year, as it gives you a great opportunity to develop the practical skills required in your career. And on top of that – ESN-Rotterdam just has such a great variety of events, ranging from social to cultural, and sports with a group of students that is here to make the absolute most of their time in Rotterdam!