Taku: ‘I know I can’t change everything’
When Takudzwa – Taku, for short – Mutezo (21) got an email about prospective student candidates for the University Council, she quickly seized the opportunity. Now, the International and European law student from Zimbabwe is the only international candidate for the Student Organisation Groningen (SOG).
She explains, ‘I have always been involved in associations and I really like to do these kinds of things and be involved in student life. I thought, if anyone could do it, why not me?’
For her, the three most important issues she wants to focus on are the internationalisation of the University, more transparency, and the further improvement of the cafeteria, all issues that the previous international council members already worked on.
The internationalisation process covers many areas that Taku as an international had problems with. Housing was one such problem. ‘It’s way harder when you have a language barrier and are in a completely new place and don’t really know much about it.’
She also thinks that the English proficiency of some lecturers still needs improvement. Likewise, she wants to integrate international students more in student life. When she was looking for an English debate association, Taku quickly realised that the possibilities for international students were limited.
‘It was a bit of a downer for me. It’s really annoying if you really want to do something and dedicate your time towards something and there is no real opportunity in English.’
As SOG’s third place candidate, Taku also wants to improve the accessibility of information for international students. She thinks a bilingual university is crucial. For example, ‘Lots of people don’t know that there is a discount card for the trains because these things are written in Dutch and we just don’t know that they are there.’
‘I want to see equal opportunities, which means that people should be aware of the opportunities that are available to them.’ This also means that more input from international students is needed. But many students don’t even know about the University Council.
While campaigning, Taku explains again and again how important it is to vote. ‘We always have to think ahead and think progressively.’ That’s why she also believes that, as a student member of the council, she can have an influence.
I can set the pace
‘It might not be changed this year, but at least they know and that is something they can work on.’ She adds, ‘It’s not that I think I can change everything, but at least I can try to set the pace.’
Taku knows that hard work will be ahead of her when she gets elected into the council. She not only has her family to support her, but she is also very motivated to represent other students in the University Council. ‘I just want to try to make it a better environment for all students.’
Also read the interview with William Pitz, the international candidate for Calimero.