More students from Saba, Statia to the Netherlands

Eight Saba and six St. Eustatius students arrived safe and sound in the Netherlands on Monday morning. ‘together with 34 students from Bonaire, they will be guided this week by the Student Support division of Aalse and Partners.

The 48 Caribbean Nether­lands students arrived at a busy Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where 211 students from Curacao arrived that same morning, divided be­tween two flights.

A large team of the Cura­cao Study Financing Divi­sion SSC welcomed the Cu­racao students on one side of the exit doors of the arrival hall, and Aalse and Partners Student Support division team on the other. The Saba and Statia students were on the same flight as 95 students from Curacao who boarded KLM flight 789 at Hato Air­port during a stopover from St. Maarten.

The Saba students and one of their guidance counselors proudly display their flag outside the arrival hall at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. (Suzanne Koelega photo)

Holding the flags of Bo­naire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the volunteers cheered as the students walked into the arrival area with their luggage. After all students had been accounted for, it was time for a group photo and then off to WOW Hotel in Amsterdam for a two-day orientation event in prepara­tion for student life.

The students from St. Eustatius with their guidance counselors shortly after their arrival at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Monday, somewhat tired and weary but mostly happy (Suzanne Koelega photo)

The students will receive their insurance policies and, together with their guidance counsellor, the newly arrived youngsters will go over the documents they need, such as the paper writing them out of the Census registry on their island, their birth certificate, study-financing and school papers, and their housing contract, explained Student Support coordina­tor Roos Leerdam-Bulo.

The students will stay at the hotel for two days and leave for the cities where they will be studying on Wednesday. Coaching them in their new surroundings will be a guid­ance counsellor who will be there for practical aspects such as registration at the mu­nicipality and opening a bank account. Together they will also do some planning and be­come acquainted with the city and public transportation.

Most of the students already have a room. Those who do not will stay with family until they have a room. Some con­tinuing students are mak­ing their rooms temporarily available to new students in need, a gesture that received a big compliment from Leer­dam-Bulo.

A few of the older students also volunteered to assist on Monday. The mother of two more senior students, Aquil­Ia van Putten of Statia, vol­unteered as well, and proved to be a true asset. “She is a role model for the students, and they know her and that makes them feel more at ease,” said Leerdam-Bulo.

The guidance counsellors are a good mix from all three islands, said Leerdam-Bulo. Wherever possible, the stu­dents are coached by some­one from their own island. “It is important that the students feel comfortable with someone who speaks their language and with whom they can identify. We have also asked the group to speak English as much as possible so the students from Saba and St. Eustatius don’t feel excluded.”

This year’s group from the Caribbean Netherlands is larger than last year’s. The higher number of students from Saba contributed to the increase. Last year, there were three students from Saba and eight from St. Eu­statius. The guidance offered by Student Support and the guidance counsellors is espe­cially for the Saba and Statia students, most of whom have no family or network in the Netherlands

The eight students from Saba are Anez Arenas, Ethan Caines, Kloe Has­sell, Heidy Johnson, Kavita Leverock, Briana Nous, Paloma Thodé and Hilary Zagers. From Statia came Milagros Carrascal-Moreno, Ninoushka de Graf, Jensey Hernandez, Elvira Redan, Rafiq Simmons and Czaiga­ny Woodley.

The majority of the Carib­bean Netherlands students will be going to The Hague and Rotterdam, while some individual students will go to Maastricht, Leeuwarden, Alkmaar and Nijmegen. Most will be studying at the higher vocational level; there will be two at university level, one being Woodley from St. Eustatius.

The 35 students from St. Maarten already arrived on Saturday and started their orientation week on Mon­day, organised by Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) and the St. Maarten government Study Financing Division DSF ). Last year, the Wind­ward Islands students came on the same flight.

The students from Aruba will be arriving later than the other Dutch Caribbean stu­dents. On August 5, 170 stu­dents will arrive from Aruba on a single flight, not divided over two flights as was the case with the Curacao stu­dents. The orientation pro­gramme for the Aruba stu­dents starts the next day, on August 6.

The Daily Herald.

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