Nur is from Madrid and studied Business and International Relations at the university in her home town. “I thought it was fantastic, but when I saw that there was an association in Rotterdam that offered me the opportunity to gain experience in the IT world, I knew deep down: this is my chance.”A friend of hers was already looking around at other universities in Europe. She told Nur: “I’m going to apply to Rotterdam, you should do it too.” The study programmes at Erasmus University did in fact appeal to her, but the Erasmus Tech Consulting (ETC) student initiative was the deciding factor. “I had already emailed ETC that I wanted to join before I was accepted at the EUR.”

Student association life

Nur is keen to enter the technical world but wants to keep to the business side of things. ETC organises lectures and workshops for students, which is why it collaborates with companies such as Google. What especially attracted Nur to ETC is that you can also gain plenty of experience through it. The consultancy agency links companies to technical start-ups, for one thing. As the external relationship coordinators, Nur actively looks for potential partner companies. “That makes me so happy”, she says. “We can really be of help; we really have something to offer. Even if we are ‘just’ students.”

She can’t get over the fact that there are so many different and professional student associations and initiatives in Rotterdam that everyone can become a member of. “At my previous university there was also an association for ICT, but not as established as here.”She taps her fingers on a book she has just picked up, a book from the B&R Scholarship student association. Where she also joined up as a member right away. “I chose a different study so that I would have a broader education but was afraid that I was going to miss out on the business world. Now I don’t have to make that choice anymore!”

In seventh heaven

Is there anything about Rotterdam that Nur is not so fond of? She is afraid of the cold weather, but not as scared as she is of the scooters zooming past. “It’s just the scooters that I find terrifying when I’m cycling, they zoom past so close to you,” she explains. “I don’t know what else really. My flatmates in Hatta are cool. One of them comes from Morocco and is a fantastic cook. My room is on the corner of the ninth floor and I have a great view over the Rotterdam skyline.” She is just as enthusiastic about her studies. “The teachers explain things clearly and I have plenty of opportunity to ask questions. And you also learn so much about other insights and opinions what with all the international students. So, I don’t have anything to complain about, except maybe later in the year when it gets really cold.”

Was she not concerned at all when she left home in the middle of a pandemic? “Did you follow the news about Spain and corona? Things aren’t going so well there either.” What she was rather worried about was the people in the Netherlands. In Spain, she had heard that the Dutch come across a bit hard-hearted and strict. “So, I was a bit apprehensive about that. Should I be a bit stern too? But everyone is incredibly friendly. People say hello when I’m out running in Kralingen. For instance, everyone wants to help whenever I’ve lost my way. And well,” she says shrugging her shoulders, “if it wasn’t any good here, I can get back home within two hours by plane.”