The Student Representative Council, or SRC, was the first opportunity to get involved with the CIEE community that I had heard of in preparing to leave for my study abroad program. Given the fact that I had spent the previous school year serving as a senator on my school’s student assembly, becoming a member of the SRC was like second nature. The coolest part was that we got to determine exactly what the SRC stands for in the Fall 2019 semester.
Our group - myself, Miranda, Cassandra, Jessica, and Audrey, with immense support from Aline at the CIEE Amsterdam headquarters - was a powerhouse that decided to provide support for students by planning extra activities for them throughout the semester. We were given a budget to help with that goal, as well as a budget sheet to handle our expenditures. That was a very adult-like first for me, but Aline helped us get accustomed to it quickly. As the SRC, our overall goal was to provide support and facilitate connection with students.
To do that, we created the anonymous SRC form, where students could express their concerns to us without CIEE staff getting involved, because we all know how intimidating sources of authority can be during the tender adjustment period. We created care packages for midterms (shown in my video below!) to show the students that we’re rooting for them. We fielded opinions for the types of events that people wanted to see happen, along with our own creativity.
The result? A day trip down to the Gouda cheese market and stroopwafel factory, “Lunch tag,” an opportunity for students who don’t know each other to grab a meal together, on the SRC, ice skating in front of the Rijksmuseum, two different movie nights for students to watch Frozen II and Knives Out, and finals/farewell goodie bags with little souvenir clogs. It was a busy semester!
What I hadn’t experienced while serving on the larger student assembly at my home university was the intensity of teamwork that these events necessitated among the five of us. There were some frustrations, stressful periods during exam week, but also the joy of our teamwork having made people happy with successful events and in addressing their concerns. Being a member of the SRC team brought me closer to the women I was working with, and it helped me foster friendships with people in our CIEE community as I plugged our events whenever I could. Also, being a member of the SRC gave me confidence - reaching out to Dutch vendors for event planning seemed intimidating at first, but it was a good growth exercise as I got more comfortable with putting myself out there.
Overall, I’d say that the SRC was a fun, challenging experience I took on this semester. If you’re interested in developing your teamwork, communication, and organization skills, join while you’re abroad!