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“We will be surrounded by more diversity” Heading North-West #8: An interview with Belise Dusabe and Sriram Arumugam

In April 2023, ITC will finally be joining us on campus! One perspective as yet undiscussed in the Heading North-West series of interviews is that of those currently studying at ITC. How do students feel about the upcoming move from Hengelosestraat to Langezijds? We asked Belise Dusabe (B), who is also President of the Student Association Board (SAB) at ITC, and Sriram Arumugam (S), who combines his studies with membership of the ITC Faculty Council. Belise and Sriram are from Rwanda and India, respectively, and are both pursuing a Master’s degree in Geoinformatics at ITC.  

What is your background and how did you end up at ITC?

S: “Before coming here I studied Geoinformatics Engineering. I chose to do my Master’s at ITC because the faculty came highly recommended. Everyone in the world of GIS and remote sensing knows about ITC and the education standards are high.” B: “I have a background in Computer Science and was looking at different ways of applying that field. Switching to Geoinformation Science seemed like a viable option, and the curriculum as offered by ITC really appealed to me.”

Did living in The Netherlands take a lot of getting used to?

B: “Yes, especially the weather, haha. Here you often get all seasons in one day. I didn’t really experience culture shock, though. The Dutch are pretty outgoing, which made it easy for me to get settled.” S: “I agree. The Dutch have made me feel welcome, they are very kind and supportive. I would like to get to know them better and make friends, but ultimately I spend most of my time at ITC, where there are few Dutch or even European students.”

What do you know about the new building?

B: “We had a meeting where Jeroen [Verplanke, ed.] shared a lot of useful information. He showed us a blueprint and explained the different spaces and their purposes. We were also given the opportunity to come up with suggestions, for example as to the kind of art we would like to see on the walls.” S: “Hearing Jeroen talk about the new building got me really excited. I am particularly taken with the three green atriums. They provide a nice sense of sustainability.”

How do you feel about moving?

S: “I’m looking forward to it. I always wanted to be part of the big uni community, and being on campus will give us more opportunities to be in touch with students and professors from other UT faculties. I think it will be a welcome change, we will be less isolated and in a more diverse environment.” B: “I agree that we will be surrounded by more diversity. Also, I have learned that many UT students don’t even know about ITC. Being part of the campus will mean more exposure for our faculty, which I think is a good thing for all of us. As President of the SAB I also like the idea that moving to the new location will enable us to introduce ITC students to all the campus has to offer and improve the overall student experience.”

Will you be using on-campus facilities more than before?

S: “Certainly. Right now we are so far off campus that our busy schedules hardly leave time for sports and such. In the new situation, it will be a lot easier for me to use the gym after classes.”  B: “I’m unsure if there’s a basketball team on campus [there is, ed.], because that is my sport. For now, the only courts that we can easily access are in the Volkspark, but due to the weather that is not always convenient. It would be nice to have better, indoor facilities.” 

The new location is quite a bit farther away from the ITC International Hotel, where both of you are staying. How do you feel about that?

B: “That’s right, currently we are used to having our faculty at walking distance. On a positive note, it’s a good reason to sharpen our biking skills.”  S: “My biking skills are pretty good already. I’m used to making biking trips around the countryside In my spare time. Going to the faculty by bike is another thing, obviously, but I’m sure I will enjoy it.” 


Heading North-West

In 2023, the Faculty ITC will relocate to the campus of the University of Twente, where a former lab complex is being transformed into a unique education and office building. As the move from the current location on Hengelosestraat will take ITC in a north-westerly direction, the project has been called “Heading North-West” by some. This is also the title of a series of articles in which ITC staff – both scientific and supporting – and students are interviewed about their reasons for being excited about the impending move. Please visit utwente.nl/ltsh for more information. Check this photo album to view the building progress, photographed by Jeroen Verplanke. 

R. Kwakman MSc (Robin)
Communication Advisor (Faculty ITC)