University Pioneers


UP Community: looking to eliminate barriers faced by first-generation students

“No more sink or swim.” DUB was part of the launch of UP-Community and published an interview with the key-speaker Ismail Aghzanay en projectleider Chahida Bouhamou.

“Most other initiatives offer mentors but we are similar to a study association.”

– Chahida Bouhamou

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Not exactly the same background, but similar problems
The diversity that Bouhamou missed during her studies would eventually lead her to establishing the UP Community: “We consciously choose not to focus on students with a migration background, but rather on first-generation students in general. The thing they have in common is the fact that they are the first ones in their families to go to college, but that actually says it all.”

The keynote speaker, English teacher Ismail,  was advised to attend special education when he was in kindergarten and graduated from a university of applied sciences after completing his MBO-studies. In his view “not all first-generation students have the same background, but they do come across the same problems when at the university. That can be explained by the fact that our parents were not so well-off due to the colour of their skin or their religion.” In 2018, Ismail was chosen as Teacher of the Year in Rotterdam, while he had not even obtained the qualification yet to be a teacher. Three years later he won the national edition Teacher of the Year. You can watch his view on education here:

Believe in kids because they are the future | Ismail Aghzanay | TEDxRotterdam – YouTube


You can read the whole DUB article here:

UP Community: looking to eliminate barriers faced by first-generation students | DUB ( by