Together with D.O.C.S. and artist Lina Issa we have developed an intervention for the first day of brand new students. An intervention that makes them feel immediately welcome and invites them to show who they really are and to share their story with other students. For example, during lunch there are napkins with texts that stimulate and incite them to have a real conversation, such as: “The norm here is that empathy gets less in the course of your studies” and “I feel vulnerable when I have to to adjust’.
Another part of the intervention is during the afternoon program. Then a senior student tells about his experiences and asks the new students when they feel welcome, what a doctor needs to be good, how well they can communicate, how many languages they speak. The answers are given by four second-year students who are ‘disguised’ as first-year students in the auditorium. Their answers are the prelude to a conversation between these students. A conversation that they have prepared well with artist Lina Issa and that has exactly the right effect: the room is moving and the new students feel the space to share their own stories, to be open to others, to enter into a conversation and to be vulnerable.
The drinks afterwards fit perfectly with the previous program. In the middle of the room are tables with fresh mint tea, Turkish coffee, spekkoek and other delicacies, but of course students can also get a beer. The ideal setting for real conversations with other first-year students.