Ever since the introweek for my program Environmental Science in 2019, I got to hear from the GreenOffice powered by Avans. And they caught my attention right away. During my first months of living in Breda, I had to look for jobs because obviously the non-EU tuition isn’t paying itself. But after searching and asking for 60 days straight… nothing. Until one day I saw a post from GreenOffice which stated: we are hiring. The message followed up with every international’s least favourite combination of words: “Only for Dutch”. But this didn’t stop me, as I have learned you have to be stubborn and not take no for an answer. So I emailed them, and surprise, I got hired!
There I was. I still couldn’t believe I was part of this team for a while. Being the only non-Dutch person on the team had its perks and downsides. Downsides: having to read every meeting’s notes out of whatever Dutch-to-English Google Translate had made of them. Perk: there was finally international representation in this student-based community! It’s been about three years now, and I have loved working for GreenOffice. We get to raise awareness with so many students and give the ones with passion for the environment a community.
I have accomplished things I am very proud of in the past years with GreenOffice. Such as the GO Sustainable Challenges at home, which started during the beginning of the pandemic way back in 2020. With almost 100 students participating by the end of this activity. And what about plogging events to clean up the streets with the mayor of Beda, Paul Depla! I even got the honour to give a speech at the Klimaatalarm Breda in 2021, which was very meaningful for me to have representation in such an event. Since in my country, climate change has already impacted many local communities in dangerous ways.
I am currently working on my farewell project with four other amazing internationals. A guidebook for students starting their interest in sustainability. I am going abroad for internships next year and then graduating… so, I wanted to leave Avans with something for future generations of students. Hopefully, this small project becomes a tool for students, which I wish I had back then, on how to start a life in a new city, country or even continent and do so in a conscious way that’s kind to our planet.
My name is Melisa Rodriguez. I am from Mexico and I am currently in my third year of the Environmental Science for Sustainable Energy and Technology Bachelor in Breda. I love to share my experiences in this wondrous world of being an international student in the Netherlands, to maybe get a smile of reliability out of you. See you!