Just a stone’s throw away from the Dutch parliament is the most remote of the Erasmus schools: the International Institute of Social Studies, a graduate school made up of mostly international students. So who will you run into when you wander around the school? This time around, we got to know master student Hassan Turi.

How did you wind up studying at the ISS?

“I was doing exactly what you were doing (points to the camera).Taking photos. There was this information evening happening in my city, Islamabad, for students who wanted to study abroad. The organizers asked me if I could take photos, and while I was there I picked up a brochure for the ISS. On the brochure they had all the requirements needed for attending this school, and as I went through them I saw that I already fulfilled all the requirements. I applied, and now I’m here.”

What is it like being a part of this small community in The Hague?

“It’s been amazing. One of the most interesting things about studying here is that, normally, since I am from Pakistan, I wouldn’t meet any Indians. In the case of Pakistan and India, we can’t go to each other’s countries. Coming here has given me the chance to chat with Indian people. I mean, before coming here, I didn’t have any interactions with people from Latin America either, and same goes with African people. Here I can talk to all these people, and since I’m involved politically, I learn about the politics of all these different countries in detail just by having a conversation.”

Sounds like a big ‘Hurrah!’ for internationality.

“Yes, yes, but that’s also the one drawback of this whole international experience. We don’t have fellow Dutch students, we don’t really have Dutch faculty. We are all having an international experience in the Netherlands, but we don’t know anything about the Dutch.”

You still have time to get that Dutch experience though, don’t you?

“Not really, my time here is almost up.”

Is it bizarre to think you’re almost done here?

“It all went by very fast. Time flies and you just don’t notice. But the good thing is you know you made friendships with people who are just like you. It’s not like you go back home and don’t take anything with you. No, these friendships will continue on. And we’re all in different political groups and NGOs and we’re all working together to build linkages between various movements. Being here has been more than just getting a degree. That’s what matters to me most.”