Finally found my place in Delft
International student Yusuf Yusri talks about his COVID-19 year
It was a turbulent time, but Aeronautical Engineering student Yusuf Yusri from Malaysia has many positive memories of this past academic year. He has been living in Delft for three years now and is a board member of the VSV Sipke Wynia study association. ‘By joining up with various study groups and the study association, I have built up a really strong network here. Without this network, the COVID-19 pandemic would have been extremely difficult for me.’
From Malaysia to the Netherlands
Originally from Malaysia, Yusuf spent several years studying in Germany before coming to the Netherlands. However, he never quite felt at home there. ‘I always wanted to study outside Malaysia as I was always fascinated by different cultures and different people. My parents also had the same ambition for me, so it felt like the right course of action.’ In Germany, he started a technical degree, as he wanted to work in engineering and the aviation sector. However, the entire programme was taught in German. ‘I wanted to do an international programme, and this turned out to be the wrong place for that.’ Yusuf subsequently came to Delft, where he enrolled in the Aeronautical Engineering programme in 2019.
Student Rocketry Project
The programme proved to be exactly what Yusuf had been looking for, and one of the projects that really suited his passion was the launch of the Aquilo rocket. The team built a rocket from lightweight material to optimise performance and fuel efficiency. In May, the rocket was launched to gather temperature, radiation and pressure data. Yusuf says there was a great atmosphere within the team. ‘Everyone is so keen to learn from each other. Given all of the responsibilities you have to handle, it is important that we communicate effectively and help each other whenever necessary. I feel that my technical skills have developed substantially. The project even made me want to stay in the Netherlands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is so committed, we talk to each other every day.’
Vice-chair at Sipke
Yusuf does not see his family very often, as the distance makes it very difficult to drop by for a quick visit. ‘Thanks to the Aquilo team, I really feel like I have found family here, and the Sipke board members have also been very good to me. The study association has really helped me to develop as a professional. Within Sipke, I truly feel like a representative of international students.’ Yusuf is the vice-chair and is responsible for external communication. As a result, he comes into contact with lots of people to organise drinks receptions and events. ‘It can be difficult, as some people are bothered by the fact that I don't speak Dutch with them.’
Initiative for internationals
In addition to Sipke and Aquilo, Yusuf is setting up a new initiative for international students, many of whom have told Yusuf that they have felt lonely during the COVID-19 period. He also noticed that a large number of students need more assistance than Inholland has to offer. Many of the new students have not even met each other face to face. For this reason, Yusuf wants to provide assistance via this new initiative.
The inner circle
During his time in the Netherlands, Yusuf has experienced the closeness of his friends as something truly special. ‘I'm really touched that my friends have truly let me in to their inner circle of family and friends. I've been invited to lunch and dinner several times and even to stay the night. That is really special to me. I'm extremely grateful for the group of friends that I have built up here. They inspire me to do things that make me very happy.’