TU PR: have you been properly informed?

Delta nr 32, October 2005

TU Delft provides its newly arrived foreign students with a variety of PR brochures to help them settle into life in Holland. But how helpful and informative are TU's Delft's brochures? To find out, we compared TU Delft's PR information packet with those of Leiden University and Erasmus University Rotterdam. And the winner is.

Here you are, alone, a new arrival in a new city and country. Sure, you know a little about Dutch society, having surfed the Net looking for information about Dutch culture and academic life, but still, there are so many new things yet to discover. Without having the right information about health care, insurance and other practicalities, life here can be a real hassle for foreign students.

Happily, upon arrival, TU Delft has provided you with a handsome little cotton bag filled with brochures. TU Delft's PR bag contains a Delft city map, a road-map of Holland, a book entitled 'Living in Holland', a small booklet from the local tourist information center, brochures about the international student chaplaincy, student societies and Filmhuis Lumen, and another TU Delft booklet entitled 'Master of Science International Program'.

The brochures were probably quickly browsed through and set aside immediately, while the road map went straight into a desk drawer full of things you don't need, as most foreign students don't have cars with them here in Holland. As for the three remaining booklets, you probably spent more time reading them.

The booklet 'Living in Holland', a Nuffic (Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education) publication, contains lots of useful information about issues ranging from public transport and health care, to Dutch society and its people, and is very informative and easy to read. Definitely something to keep. The tourist information booklet called 'In Delft' tells you everything you need to know about Delft shops, sightseeing and entertainment . also very useful.

But foreign student's might also expect the 'TU Master of Science' booklet to offer more specific details on studying in Delft. Partly, it does. But the amount of practical student information about TU Delft is unfortunately quite limited, and many important subjects are either briefly mentioned or not mentioned at all. Under the booklet's heading 'Study problems', for instance, a long entry follows about how you must try to overcome your problems yourself or otherwise talk to others, but there's no mention of the various TU student counselors you can also turn to for help. The same goes for other topics, like Delft supermarkets, which lists the supermarkets but not their addresses.

The TU Master of Science's booklet's lay-out also lacks presence and its size is rather impractical. But the amount of information it provides is fairly comprehensive. With some additional Internet surfing and asking around, new students should be able to find all the information they need.

Leiden University

For international students who choose to study in Leiden, the university-provided PR packet is better than TU Delfts, making it that much easier for Leiden's new foreign students to adjust to life here.

In addition to a Leiden city map and the 'Holland Handbook' (similar to but better than TU Delft's 'Living in Holland'), Leiden's foreign students receive a booklet entitled 'Finding your way around Leiden', a comprehensive university brochure that combines tourist information with general information about the Netherlands and specific information about Leiden University. This booklet is however a bit too thorough: the reader often has to wade through many uninteresting or irrelevant paragraphs before arriving at the vital information they need.

This booklet does however include addresses and phone numbers for a wide range of Leiden shops and organizations, as well as their opening hours, detailed information on student societies and facilities and things to do in the vicinity of Leiden. If the booklet has one defect, though, it's perhaps its overly positive spin on reality, such as statements like "NS trains usually arrive and depart on time...."

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Foreign students arriving at Rotterdam's Erasmus University receive the most detailed and helpful information packet, in the form of an impressive stack of brochures.

At Erasmus University Rooterdam, each faculty produces its own introductory booklet, offering detailed information on issues like insurance, academic life, shopping, finances and transport. For instance, if you're studying International Business Administration, you receive a beautifully layed-out brochure called 'Studying and living in the Netherlands', and if you're doing a postgraduate degree in 'Business and Trade Law' or International Law, you receive a large, full-color 'Study Guide' that contains, among other things, a small glossary of commonly used Dutch words.

Apart from this, Erasmus University foreign students also receive brochures about shopping and city walking tours, a 'Rdamzine' magazine containing tourist information (all provided by Rotterdam's tourist information center), a comprehensive 'Eureka Vademecuum' (Eureka is the equivalent of TU Delft's Owee introductory week) booklet about the university, the city and all the student organizations, plus an attractive booklet called 'Find your way in Rotterdam', an excellent joint-publication from Rotterdam's various higher education institutes that not only includes referrals to books and websites, but also various little extras, like photos of all the Euro coins, info on day-care centers and an index.

All in all, Erasmus University Rotterdam is the clear PR winner in terms of providing newly arrived foreign students with all the information they need to make a successful start to life in the Netherlands. TU Delft can definitely learn from Erasmus University Rotterdam's informative and attractive PR packet.


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