Tom Kranenbarg - Vice President / Secretary ESN Board 2017/2018

I’m Tom Kranenbarg and I’m the Vice-President / Secretary of the 2017-2018 board of ESN Rotterdam. I was born in the lovely town of Amersfoort (near Utrecht) 20 years ago. I study International Business Administration at the Erasmus University. I like to spend my free time on sports (watching and playing) and traveling. My favorite sports team has always been Feyenoord, which is quite convenient now that I live in biking distance from the stadium.

Why the ESN Board?

My study is very international, with over 60% of the students in non-Dutch and over 80 nationalities in my year. This brought me into contact with many international students. Here I saw the value ESN had to many of these international students in helping them in their adventure in the Netherlands. Therefore, I decided to be a buddy next to my studies, which got me even more excited about meeting many people from different cultures and backgrounds. In fact, I loved being a buddy so much that I decided I wanted helping internationals to settle in even more. This lead to my application to the ESN board.

Studying business has taught me to always be on the look-out for opportunities to learn and develop yourself besides your studies, and this is exactly what ESN had to offer me. In the board you develop your communication skills, both inside the organization and to partners and participants. Also, working in an extremely diverse environment is a very good experience to have early in your career. These reasons made me apply for the board, and I never regretted it for a second.

Why Secretary / Vice President?

The reason I chose to apply for my position was partly because I’d been in contact with the previous Vice-President / Secretary since I’d been a buddy before. This already got me interested, as I was very excited by the job of buddies and what they do.Also, I knew that it would help me greatly in my leading, planning and communication skills. Interviewing committee applicants, negotiating and meeting with important stakeholders, doing presentation about ESN and all the other tasks of the position (outlined more clearly below) would help me develop myself massively. The position is extremely diverse in all of the tasks and opportunities, but also provides many options for taking action to improve the organization by tweaking or changing ineffective procedures and systems, and by acting on unused opportunities.

Function description

The first aspect of being the Vice-President / Secretary entails being the main contact person of the organization. This means potential new partners, international students, but also committee members and alumni of ESN and many other parties will contact you for a variety of reasons. This means it’s a great way to come into contact with a great amount of people, and it will mean I have a great overview of what is going on within the organization. It is therefore also the VP’s task to redistribute information within the organization (to the board and committee members) about partnership or event collaboration request, new policies or other updates from the university and information about events.Secondly, I’m in charge of the planning of important meetings and office hours. This means for example meetings within the board, with the supervisory board or with university employees. This of course ties in as well with the distribution of information.Another important task is to make sure the ESN office is running smoothly and efficiently. This is key to the success of the organization, as this is the place it all starts. It’s where the members of the organization work, and the events are being planned. It’s also one of the first places many incoming internationals visit, to get a lot of information about ESN and about the Netherlands, and of course to get their OV-cards, ESNcards and SIMcards. Furthermore, it’s the place where most tickets are sold, although, in cooperation with other positions, it’s also my responsibility to make sure it’s also increasingly easier and better to buy this online.

Expanding on that last point, the Vice-President / Secretary oversees the digital working environment, which means making sure all online systems, including file sharing and email systems.Another important task is maintaining and developing the relationship with the university and the international offices. Since a large part of ESN participants is EUR students, it’s important to keep strong ties with the university, and make sure they are always updated about what ESN is doing, as they are the first to have contact with the new students that will be arriving in Rotterdam. The other way around is important as well, as it’s important that all members of our organization now all the relevant information on time. Additionally, this includes helping in the organization and being the main contact person for many university related events, such as exchange fairs and of course the one stop shop.

Lastly, the position of VP means being the Buddy Programme coordinator, which includes the recruitment of buddies, promotion of the Programme and matching of the students to their buddy.This is done in with the help of the Orientation Committee which is supervised by the Vice-President, and helps keeping the buddies and students actively engaged in the programme, as well as organizing events to help new internationals with their orientation in Rotterdam and the Netherlands. 

Looking for more information? Don’t hesitate to contact me by sending an email to