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.
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 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.