“I’ve been working 24/7 these past few weeks on getting students home safely.”

Monday 20 April 2020

How do you, as an organisation, make sure your students and staff get home safely while the coronavirus is raging? Let’s take a look behind the scenes. Froukje Meirink, Director of Education Logistics and Student Support, is on the crisis team and talks about her experiences.

Froukje Meirink

“As a member of the crisis team, I’ve been working 24/7 these past few weeks on getting students home safely. For some, home is the Netherlands, for others, it’s another country. It’s been a hectic period and rather surreal, but we worked with all our colleagues out of real concern for our students. Often when students returned to the Netherlands, they didn’t have a place to stay as they’d already vacated their accommodation here, so our colleagues in Facility Management would then arrange substitute accommodation. It’s at times like this that we see how versatile and resilient our students are and we as an organisation. Of course there were also difficult, even frightening, moments. Changing cancelled tickets and maintaining good contact with students was sometimes hard – students would run out of call credit or would be stuck at an airport with no way of charging their phone. We often had tears in our eyes. There were three students in Costa Rica who wanted to come home but their tickets kept being cancelled. It was such a relief when we heard they had finally boarded the plane. And I won’t forget the repatriation of our student Dominique – that was a tricky case. She was in South Korea and getting back from there was and is very difficult. When I then hear that the student is home safe and sound, it makes me so happy. The energy I get from that far outweighs all the effort it costs. Students are really grateful – I’m going to have a lot of coffee meetups once it’s allowed again. And I’m really looking forward to them!”