28 April 2017 | Category: Student life

Four reasons why you must be an AID mentor

By Claudio Cropano

MSc Plant Sciences...

When I think back to my Wageningen days, the Annual Introduction Days (AID) period is among those vivid memories that I will cherish forever. Let’s be honest, some of you will agree that the AID week is an awesome time. Instead, most of you will agree that the AID week is a super awesome time!

To make my point even stronger, I liked the AID so much that I joined it three times. How did I do that?
The first as a freshman and then I was brave enough to be an AID mentor twice. I even considered of joining it a fourth time but I thought I had reached the AID-retirement age, so I gave up. Yes, I have a strong party-oriented attitude if it’s what you’re thinking, but the fun is not the only reason why I joined the AIDs as a mentor.

Here, I will try to summarize the reasons why you should become an AID mentor too and that will make it worth the beer that your poor liver will have to deal with.

1- Make brand new friends! 

Let’s face it. Living in Wageningen is pretty cool. But as every cool thing, there are pros and cons. One thing that makes living in Wageningen so attractive is the possibility to have friends coming from all over the world. However, accordingly to his status of international limbo, Wageningen is a place where people come and go and they don’t (usually) stay. We have all experienced the sad departure of a friend with which we may have shared our first steps, our first classes, first barbecues, first beach-volley matches, joys and frustrations… and then puff… gone, just like that. I have counted more good-bye dinners than bikes during my stay in Wageningen. Of course and thankfully, there are many ways to make new friends but the AID is such a great experience that you will inevitably build a strong connection with the people you share it with, especially as a mentor. So why not taking the chance of having brand new friends ready to live the Wageningen experience at full speed?

AID group Wageningen

Ladies and gentleman, AID group 1!

2- Get some more travel buddies!

With my AID “kids” I went to the discovery of Dutch cities I had never visited before. In Maastricht for instance, we got to know the city from a local as one of the “kids” was from there (Thanks Adinda – I hope you’re reading this). Do you really need to do the AID to travel around The Netherlands? No, but you really don’t want to miss the chance of receiving from ESNxWageningen a 50 Euros refund for an activity done with your AID group, for instance a one-day trip! Those 50 Euros will be enough to cover the travel expenses(or most of it) if you take a group train ticket, and as students – and therefore poor by definition – why not taking advantage of that?

AID group Wageningen

Visiting Maastricht with AID group 1

3- Train your team leading skills!

Being an AID mentor is not (only) about mentoring a bunch people on the way from a party to the other. I am not kidding. As an AID mentor you will also have certain responsabilities. I am not talking about legal responsabilities, what I mean is more of a “social” responsability. As a mentor, you will be responsible for creating a welcoming environment for your group. You will have to make sure that everyone feels included and that decisions will be taken respecting everyone’s needs. Remember that the AID group are made in such a way that they are as heterogeneous as possible in terms of nationality and study program. And believe me, there is nothing more challenging than making such a diverse group of people agreeing on something, but you might have probably figured that out already by now. So, to be a good mentor you will have to be inclusive, respectful, a good listener, communicative and also good at problem-solving. Does that sound like the attributes that you would find in a job description? Yes, indeed. These are exactly the characteristics that you will be asked for any kind of job that requires team working or team leading. And…during your AID as a mentor you will train all of them! Of course you won’t be leading a team towards the development of a product. Instead, your goal will be to guarantee a great time for your group. Believe me, I have been asked in almost every job interview I had so far about my experience as an AID mentor!

P.S: Don’t panic. Before the AID you will attend a two-days training in which you will get acquainted with your responsabilities as a mentor and dorole-plays to train your team player/leading skills!

AID group Wageningen

Celebrating the Swedish Midsommarfest with AID group 2 “Los Macarenos”

4- Save money!

AID mentors pay only 50% of the participation fee for the Summer AID! Instead, if you will be a mentor during the Winter AID, participation will be FREE (gratis, frei, gratuito, livre)!!!

P.S: You are lucky, subscriptions to become a mentor for the next Summer AID are open! Click here to know more!

Have fun guys, doei!




Read more about what to expect during an AID week or about Pranav’s experiences in his blog. Or watch Nany’s vlog below if you want to see her AID experience.


By Claudio Cropano

MSc Plant Sciences

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