Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie
Inkom groups consisting of both Dutch and foreign students was this year’s new policy. It was an attempt to improve integration between the Dutch and the Germans. A mentor: “Our three Germans already left the group on the first day.”
Whereas last year bachelor's students could choose between a Dutch or an English Inkom group, this year there was no choice. All groups were mixed and English was the language spoken. In particular at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, German and Dutch students live in completely separate worlds, both at the faculty and outside.
During the Inkom this year, things were not always harmonious either. On the contrary: many groups split up. This was the prevailing picture that emerged from a sample survey among mentors.
During the collective breakfast Bacon and Eggs, mentor Loes Bekkers tells us that ‘her’ three Germans left on the first day. They formed a new group with other German students, to go and discover the city in their own way. Shortly before the (English) Comedy Night in the Vrijthof Theatre, mentor Tessa Bode says that her six German first-year students sometimes join the group and sometimes don’t. “We leave it up to them. The first evening they went to a German party.”
It is not just the Germans, sometimes the Dutch pack it in as well. A mentor on the Amorsplein only has foreign students left under his wing, including a German, a Lithuanian and two Asians. In one of the master’s groups, three Dutch students, who already knew each other, have split off. “The rest of our group, with students from Germany, Indonesia, Latvia and the Netherlands, has stayed together and speaks English almost all the time,” according to the two Dutch mentors who are joining the MosaeMaster on Thursday afternoon.
Observant also met with small groups where English was spoken all the time, although this only happened if there were several nationalities together. Dutch or Germans among themselves change to their respective native tongues.
Intercultural coordinator and business administration lecturer Wim Swaan, one of the advocates of mixed Inkom groups, did not assume that the new setup would be flawless. “Something like this needs time. You have to work at it, make it a theme and spend some time on it during the first three months of the academic year. Even in our tutorial groups, the language sometimes changes from English to German. However, I feel it was very good of the Inkom committee to stick its neck out and mix the groups. Despite strong resistance from the student associations, which is also understandable because Inkom is for them the moment to recruit members.”