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    Is there life apart from your studies? Active students | Part 2
    16 juni 2011 - For foreign students it is often difficult to plan activities apart from their studies, but fortunately there are still students who do succeed in planning studies and activities side by side. How do they manage this? And why do they find it so important to do more than studying alone?

    This week: Indre Kalinauskaite

    Indre Kalinauskaite from Lithuania is not unknown to many international students. She is the driving force behind the Common Room and devotes herself more than 100 % to turn this initiative into a success.

    'You are European, so you don't have the pressure of a scholarship', is what Indre hears a lot when searching for new volunteers. Non-European students must finish their studies within two years because of the scholarship they are getting. European students are not bothered by that. "That is definitely a big difference", she agrees. "Then again, I'm not asking anyone to put in as many hours as I do myself. Just a few hours a week, surely that should be feasible? Sometimes it is very difficult to find volunteers and then I think: forget it, I'm quitting. At the same time I know that it takes time to change a 'mindset', and I always decide to go on again."

    At present the Common Room has fifteen volunteers. "That may seem like many, yet there always has to be a volunteer present during the opening hours of the Common Room. We are open five or six days a week, which means you need a great many volunteers!" The 15 volunteers have to work very hard now and occasionally I really have to beg to ask if someone is prepared to do an extra shift. It would be so welcome if we were a slightly bigger group."

    She does not come up with a ready answer when asked why she cares so much for the international students. "Although it is a passion that is shared by all volunteers, I couldn't really say what it is. When I arrived in Eindhoven myself, there was nothing, and I do know that I really missed that. You're from another country and you have to get to know new people. It is so nice then if there is a place that you can go to and share experiences. You get acquainted with international students who've been here for a while and they can show you the way. I also hope that I can create a bond this way and encourage new students to contribute their bit as well. Indre herself spends a great amount of time on the Common Room: 5 to sometimes 10 hours a week. Those hours include both paid ones and voluntary ones. "It may sound like a lot, but it isn't that bad really. Besides, for fewer hours we are also very grateful. Suppose you plan one hour every day as a volunteer to answer questions from new students on Facebook, that would be fantastic already!" (HB)

    Become a volunteer? Contact Indre via: