A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Being on the board of my student organization BASIS for two terms has taught me a lot: from responsibility to how to sit straight when you’re meeting an ambassador, or that no matter how frustrated you are at someone in a meeting it is not okay to throw something or anything at them. I joke. BASIS is the student organization for the International Studies program at Leiden University with its campus in the Hague. I have been the external affairs officer from 2012 to 2013(term 1) and have continued on to the second term (2013-2014) holding the same position. I have met so many interesting people from many walks of life being a BASIS board member. My job is to basically improve communication between the board and its members, run the association’s website, improve and/or build relations with other student organizations. The board consists of five other members, namely the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and my partner in crime, the internal affairs officer.
I will be lying if I said that the job is as smooth as butter sliding across a hot pan. We’ve had a few hiccups which we have learnt from. One of the challenges we faced was conflict of interests. Sometimes it was hard to differentiate between a person who is your friend and a board member at the same time. The second one was that since we were the first board for our brand new study. We had the foundation from the interim board but had to build upon it. We used other study associations as models. It took a lot of time and effort but we got there and we continue growing! We’ve got two new committees this year and our overly excited first years keep coming up with proposals for more. The funny thing is that last year when I was running for elections for the first time I was running because of a promise I made to a friend and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t until the day before elections, at midnight after procrastinating for hours I came up with what I hoped to do if I got elected, what I envisioned BASIS to become during my term. This year a week before elections I reflected on what I had said and done the previous year and decided to run again. BASIS gave me experience in exchange for my time. It’s been six weeks since we started our second term and there is always something going on, endless meetings, borrels, and the works. It’s funny how you give something a shot for whatever reason and then it ends up being a big part of your student life besides academics. Besides the usual things that leadership roles teach you like organizational skills, time management, social skills and personality development BASIS taught me and gave me much more. For someone who is always on the borderline for experiencing homesickness BASIS helped me make friends who had common interests, helped me grow as a person and made me feel like I was part of a community. To all the students out there, if you have the time, try to join a club, an organization, try to be a part of something because it’s not just a way to meet new people but also a way in which you make friends and become part of a community. You might meet your future BFF there, or a group of people who are also into Korean pop, or just people who are completely different but you click with really well. You also learn a lot, obtaining skills which might be beneficial when you’re looking for that desired internship or job.