Student voice 12 Aug 2022

CIS alumnus, Floris W: Building an internationally-minded community

By CIS Communications
Photograph by Floris W

Floris W has certainly made the most out of 2021. The Class of 2018 alumnus completed his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and was accepted into the Masters programme at Maastricht University. He then decided to take a gap year, during which he was elected as the President at Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Maastricht.

There, he put his heart into building a home away from home for international students in the Netherlands. The non-profit association has 14,500 active members to date and serves 190,000 international students annually. As Floris completes his term this year, he looks back with pride at how ESN Maastricht grew under his leadership.

“During my year as President, we were transitioning to a post-COVID world in the Netherlands,” he explains. “This was a key moment for student associations and where others faltered, we succeeded. We achieved an unprecedented growth in members and vitally, we remedied the financial issues we ran into the years prior due to COVID-19.”

It is no surprise that Floris thrived in the association, given his passion for building bridges. At Maastricht University, one of his fondest memories was of helping the school introduce new students and thereby making friendships beyond his class.

He also credits his time at CIS for developing his global mindset and leadership skills that contributed to his success in the role. In grade 12, he was elected as the grade representative and was also the Academics Committee leader of the Student Council. He believes that the best way to grow as a leader is to be one and is grateful for these many opportunities.

His tenure at ESN Maastricht further shaped his leadership style that he describes as assertive and fair. On top of making tough decisions, he learnt to draw the line between professional relationships and friendships.

“My board members were my friends and so were the members of the Advisory Council overseeing us,” he says. “But us being friends didn’t negate the need for us to be honest with each other. If a fellow board member made a mistake, I would have to tell them and vice versa.”

Now that Floris will be ending his term at ESN Maastricht, he is already looking to his future. He shares that in 2028, 10 years after graduating from CIS, he hopes to have made great strides and take on a career in an internationally-minded community. But even as he progresses professionally, he will always remember his time at his alma mater fondly.

“What I miss most about CIS is the community. The way it fosters community is unlike many other schools,” he shares. “Till this day, and even yesterday, I’m hanging out with the friends I made at CIS. It’s the place where I’ve made friendships for a lifetime.”