Introduction for exchange students

Studying abroad is an exciting and rewarding experience. Students United in the Netherlands (SUN) is a Windesheim committee that helps exchange students learn about Dutch student life and settle in.

Introduction for exchangestudents

Learn about life in the Netherlands with SUN

In 1997, Windesheim set up an organization to help foreign exchange students by running a buddy and activity programme. The organization is called SUN, which is short for Students United in the Netherlands. SUN is a committee of about ten Windesheim students, closely supported by the International Office. As an exchange student, you are given a Dutch SUN mentor as soon as you enrol. Your mentor will make you feel at home from day one.

The benefits of SUN 

• Opportunities to meet other international and Dutch students
• Help adapting to student life in Zwolle
• Informal evening and weekend activities
• The opportunity to go on a planned trip in the Netherlands
We look forward to meeting you!

Edward Taylor

Edward is from Vermont, United States of America and is an exchange student of the University of Vermont.

"Knowing that I can ask my mentors for help with everything..."

As a student from the United States, I can say that there were a lot of things that I overlooked before coming to my exchange at Windesheim. I prepared myself for the usual things when you travel; the weather, the food, getting the right currency but I didn’t realize how much more help I would need once I arrived here. I can honestly say, that if it were not for the SUN mentors, my time studying at Windesheim would not be as fun or fulfilling as it has been. Knowing that I can ask my mentors for help with everything from where to go to get a Dutch phone number to finding out which is the best bar to go out with my friends. In addition to them being an outstanding resource, as students they are people you can get to know just as well as anyone else in one of your courses. - Edward 

"There was an international dinner where everybody had to prepare something typical of their country."

There was a welcome party organised by the Sun mentors in the ‘flying horse’ and everybody had the chance to get to know the other Erasmus students.  The sun mentors also helped us before our arrival, they contacted us and said that if we have any questions, we can ask them, and they were willing to help with everything. Like this they took away the fear of going abroad. Further on, we did a scavenger hunt to get to know Zwolle (and learned a little bit of the history of the city as well). There was an international dinner where everybody had to prepare something typical of their country and Sun covered the drinks. We got a typical Dutch dinner in the local bar and we got to know Dutch students. - Laura

Laura Perl

Laura is from Austria and is an exchange student of the University College of Teacher Education Styria.

Timo Rantasuo

Timo is from Finland and is an exchange student of the Lapland University of Applied Sciences.

"SUN has helped me during some difficult times..." 

From the beginning, SUN activities have been fun to attend, and they are well advertised. With these activities, I have been able to meet other exchange students more easily. It has been also nice to have some “Dutch experts” aka SUN mentors alongside with my studies and free time here in the Netherlands. They have given some suggestions what to do, and if we would have some questions to ask, mentors are more than willing to answer those. SUN has helped me during some difficult times. For example, when I had a car accident, SUN offered me help almost immediately when they heard about that. Responses were quick, and it helped me to go through some days after the accident. - Timo

"They gave us instructions to make sure we arrive at our so-called home..."

When I arrived in Zwolle at the beginning of this year, the students from SUN were the first people I got in contact with and it came in handy. Not only did they wait for each of us at the train station while it was cold and snowing outside, but they also gave us instructions to make sure we arrived at our so-called home for the following five months. What happened next? Well, the people from SUN made sure to keep us busy. They organized a welcoming party right from the first night, where we got to know each other since we were around 100 students coming from all over the world. Besides the countless parties, we also had fun discovering Zwolle by participating to a city hunt and we got the chance to taste the Dutch food. - Diana

Diana Bargoz

Diana is from Romania and is an exchange student of the University Babes-Bolyai. 

Osman Ergin

Osman is from Turkey and is an exchange student of the Yeditepe University. 

"The SUN team did a tremendous job in putting all the international students to a comfortable, fun and safe place."

It is really important for me to have a friendly and warm environment in every place I am into and I can say it with full confidence and gratefulness that the SUN team did a tremendous job in putting all the international students to a comfortable, fun and safe place.  I know from my friends who are also abroad that majority of them don’t have these kinds of activities and without these things the feeling to belong somewhere or make real friendships are much harder. The things I can say about the SUN team of Windesheim is that they are great people who are doing things without asking things in return. That’s the importance. Thank you for giving us the chance to have amazing life-long memories. - Osman

"The activities that SUN organised helped to get to know the Dutch culture..."

When starting an exchange semester everything is new. New people, new school, new country, new cultures. SUN helped to become accustomed to the unfamiliar circumstances a lot. Every international student was assigned to a team (red, blue, white and orange) and two Dutch mentors are responsible for every team. This means that from the beginning everyone knows at least two Dutch students which can answer any questions one has. The activities that SUN organized were always fun and they helped to get to know the Dutch culture as well as the culture of the other international students better.  Through these events, it was possible to spend time with other internationals that study something different than you do. I am grateful for the experience with SUN! - Petra

Petra Strittmarter

Petra is from Switzerland and is an exchange student of the Business School DBE.

Preston Ernst

Preston is from Georgia, United States of America and is an exchange student of International Applied Engineering.

"Without these events I certainly would not have met most all of the students..."

It is evident that SUN has been an integral part of providing a connected exchange program. From the first day having someone waiting at the train station to give directions to students to their residences to organising the SUN activities to get all of the students together, the exchange certainly would have been much less connected without SUN. I am glad that there were structured activities because it allowed for all the students to gather together. Without these events I certainly would not have met most all of the students. Apart from all this, just having a group of people to contact in the case of a question was enough to give the students peace of mind in a new country. - Preston

"Sun Team, the world is more beautiful with you!"

Real friends are like stars: you don't always see them, but you know they are there. Sun Team, the world is more beautiful with you! - Ibrahim

Ibrahim Dinek

Ibrahim is from Turkey and is an exchange student of the Halic University.

More detailed information about SUN

The International Office organises a welcome-service for exchange students. Our SUN mentors will welcome you from the railway station in Zwolle to give directions to your dorm. 

Get in touch


Please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or if you need any help.