Category Archives: Committee

Daily blog: 8 november – There and back again

Study Tour USB 14.0 started officially on Saturday the 8th of November! This morning we all gathered on campus at 4:30 (yeah really) and got ourselves ready for departure to the United States of America. Everyone looked quite tired but also excited to start this journey. The bus set out for Schiphol Airport at 05:00. During the drive the committee made sure appropriate music was played (theme songs, everything including USA, Brazil or a city to be visited). While some participants took a short nap, others started an early breakfast. The committee started preparing a briefing and some other tour preparations.


At Schiphol there were friends and family members to say goodbye to some participants. At 9:15 we started checking in which went flawless and at 10:15 our flight to San Francisco departed without delay. We flew with an Airbus A330-200, which has enough comfort for the 11 hour flight. There were movies, TV shows and other entertainment available. Personally I slept quite some time so I cannot really give the best summary of the flight, but I heard from others there were no problems. Since we flew to a GMT-8 zone, we had the pleasure of seeing a very long sunset/sunrise above Greenland.

At 12:30 local time, we arrived at the airport of San Francisco. The bus was already present and after forgetting ‘only’ one suitcase, which was soon retrieved, we departed to the hostel. The bus trip itself was pretty uneventful and we arrived at our hostel quite early (around 14:00). The keys were distributed and there was a short briefing which can be summarized to that everyone should be back at the hostel at 17:00 for dinner at China town.


The participants explored San Francisco and its distinct parts. During the meantime the committee arranged the dinner reservation and 29 public transport cards for the week.

At 17:15 we assembled and around 17:30 we walked to our reservation in China Town. This part of San Francisco is fully themed as a city of China. My personal experience of China (gathered during the previous study tour) showed that it is quite different from an original Chinese city, but it still had some familiar features. The dinner itself was very similar to dinners in China, and everyone had fun but also looked quite tired.DSCN0265_1

After dinner, most of the participants and committee went back to the hostel for a drink and some well-deserved sleep, while some others walked to the pier. This ends the 33 hour day and this blog. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the study tour, which luckily starts with a day off.


Daily blog: 8 november – Almost There

Written by: Jeroen Vollenbrock, Travel Coordinator USB 14.0

A study tour is an odd thing. When you join the University you are usually expected to study, and perhaps partake in some activities. Then all of a sudden, you’re walking arround as one of the travel coordinators for the new study tour. It seems like a lifetime ago, however cheesy it may sound.

To be fair, it HAS been over a year since our committee was formed on the 6th of June 2013 and a lot has happened since then. Long before we met most of the participants, we were already having heated debates about our theme, name and destinations. We’ve asked many professors what would be interesting countries to visit and what kinds of Smart Surroundings they are developing there.

The second step was getting all of the participants on board, while Kaspar also started to prepare the research. 2014 came around and we decided on who we would bring on our travels, giving Robin all the necessary information to get started with the task of arranging all contract research assignments in order to get a positive cash flow going.

As travel coordinators, we have had the advantage of our work starting last, and the disadvantage of our workload steadily increasing. In January of this year, we made a first start with all travel related tasks for our tour. We started to set up visits by using our slowly expanding network in the destination countries. After a while, we also started contacting companies outside of our network. This often required us to stay awake till early in the morning, as the time difference between us and the companies could be as much as 9 hours.

Our evenings were mainly filled with calling, sending e-mails, improving our schedule and keeping up our good spirits. Whenever we tended to fall into a routine we would inevitably get an e-mail from another company we wanted to visit, or find an e-mail in our inbox announcing a cultural visit had been confirmed. Only when a company confirmed our visit, we would finally be able to fall asleep while feeling great!

Time was racing toward us and while most of the participants were working on their CR assignment, we got down to business to defeat the still empty spots in our schedule. Aside from organizing company visits, we never got to catch our breath with more and more tasks heading our way, such as booking transfers, accommodation, dinners and cultural trips, and not to mention the creation of the travel guide.

With less than 5 hours left before departure, i’m now finishing up this post. This will allow me to get a few hours sleep before i will have to wake up, grab my luggage, and the box containing all travel guides, travel scripts, name badges, emergency recovery plans, travel vouchers and all other required documents. Then, i will head towards the spiegel where we will all depart. As you’re reading this we’ve probably already departed, and are on our way to what hopefully is going to be the greatest tour of our life.

Oh, i almost forgot to mention: the tour schedule can now be found here.

Daily blog: 7 november

With less than ten hours left for the study tour, I have yet to fully pack my bags. The past few days have been filled with the last preparations for the study tour: not only as as a student who leaves the Netherlands for almost two months, but also as a committee member who has to complete his last tasks.

One of my final tasks was to deliver the book, shown below, to all participants. The preliminary report contains, as the name implies, all the research that the participants have worked on in the past several months . The research courses of the study tour started already in April this year, and the final course isn’t even finished yet. This shows how much work the participants have done; our preliminary report contains over 470 pages!


The name study tour already tells us that a study tour is much more than a relaxing holiday to a warm, far-away country. No, also during the study tour there is a study aspect involved. Namely, the participants are required to write a report about the companies that we are going to visit. These reports will explain how the companies, universities and research institutes contribute to the understanding of our theme Smart Surroundings. Fortunately, there is more than enough spare time left to explore San Francisco, Los Angeles, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. And on top of that, everyone decided to stay at least a week longer in Brazil or elsewhere to truly feel the holiday feeling that (I think) everyone craves after almost four exhausting weeks.

I would love to talk more about all the great things that we are going to do during the study tour, but I still have to pack my bags. Let’s see if I can stay under the 23 kg + 10 kg luggage limit, which is actually not that much. Anyway, see you in two months!

Daily blog: 6 november

While the final preparations of the study tour are being made, the realization that our study tour is only hours from departure is ever more present. Where over one year ago our destination was yet to be determined, we now stand on the verge of an amazing journey that will result in lifelong, spectacular memories.

It was little more than a year ago that the study tour committee, a group of six enthusiastic students determined to organize an amazing, 3-week tour, discussed our possible destinations. This resulted in a premiere by visiting two continents in one tour for the first time: Study Tour USB 14.0 would visit the United States and Brazil. Many of us know a lot about the United States. With its culture being well-represented in Hollywood movies and covered in many news stories, its culture and highlights might be known best around the world. However, a study tour opens doors that would normally stay closed. Next to that, we will be visiting Brazil, which has a very different culture from both the US and the Netherlands. Clearly, this tour will bring us to both the very well-known and the mysterious unknown.

The study tour is a unique, amazing and challenging project. With a turnover that well exceeds 100.000 euros, it is primarily organized by a committee or students in their spare time. On top of that, our 22 highly motivated participants put in a lot of effort by performing research and acquiring the funding. This tour is the result of the hard work of both the committee and the participants of this tour. Therefore I would like to compliment and thank all students and supervising professors involved in this tour.

With the preparations for the tour nearly finished, there is nothing left to do but to depart for this adventure and to see what the (business)culture in the USA and Brazil have in store for us!

Daily blog: 5 November

Every day, we will publish a blog about our activities and experiences during the Tour, written by different participants. To start it off a couple of days early, the first blog is for Rien Heuver, Chairman of Inter-Actief.

One more day until the official goodbye drink and three more until the very early morning when everyone departs. That’s the way we see it right now. In three more days 28 members of our association will be gone for quite a while. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing, but let me elaborate on that.

Study tours are a very big and important part of Inter-Actief. One of the goals of Inter-Actief is to stimulate the knowledge in computer science and its business applications. According to our articles of association we try to accomplish this by, amongst others, organizing excursions and keeping good contacts with the computer science industry. If there is one thing at our study association helping us reach that goal, it’s definitely this study tour. In short: the entire paragraph about the study tour committee in our by-laws is there for a reason.

Besides these clear, defined reasons why it is of such importance, we of course value this tour on other levels too. This tour is a very good way to broaden your horizon, since it involves so many different aspects of your study but also of working in general. Lots of cooperation was involved in the preparations of this tour, quite some report-writing and of course the contract research. A great way of learning new things and with it gathering some credits for your study.

Clearly, though mentionable, this tour was organized by a skillful committee. Over the past one and a half year they have spent loads of time on preparing this study tour. With a total of 62 meetings so far they surely have been busy: fixing the courses and reports, realizing CR-assignments, keeping the books in order and of course organizing the programme for the tour itself. This team has done a great job so far and I bet it will proof itself worthwhile.

Like I said, the departure Saturday carries along some bad sides too, but don’t take that too heavily. This study tour takes 28 of our members to the other side of the world, while quite a couple of those members are of great importance to Inter-Actief. For the coming few weeks, 6 committees of our association will be missing valuable members, and those committees are even so valuable to us. I guess we will see this as a great opportunity to find out how well we can cope without these people.

I think I made my point clear now. This study tour will, I think, be worth the preparations and the time and surely we, Inter-Actief, value it highly. But we will also miss the members that will go on study tour and we will be very happy to see them return. So have fun out there and return home safely!

American dinners and Brazilian sports

It has been a while since our last blogpost, and a lot has happened since. Much has been going on behind the scenes: our Research Coordinator has been successfully coordinating the Theme Course, our External Affairs has been busy with the Contract Research-assignments and our Travel Coordinators are planning the very first company visits. But of course, our participants are not forgotten: we have had another two very successfull teambuilding activities!

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Teambuilding activities

The participants have been known for quite a while now, so it was time for the participants to get to know each other! In order to accomplish this, the committee will organize a series of teambuilding activities to get acquainted and, of course, to have some fun together. This blog will provide a short overview over the last activities.

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The start of the research is drawing near

It is time for another blog post from study tour USB 14.0. The last blog was written just  after the participants were selected and in the meantime two teambuilding activities have taken place.  We have enjoyed each others company during a drink a few weeks ago and past monday during a pubquiz. The upcoming months more activities will be planned such that the participants and the committee will get to know each other very well.

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Participants known!

The past months we have been busy preparing for our Tour in November this year. But all of these preparations would be pointless without the important people that we have now selected: our participants!

After reading motivational letters and having interviews with applicants, we have selected 22 participants that will join us on our journey to the United States and Brazil. We are happy to announce the following people will accompany the Committee: Continue reading