Humans of Tilburg University

There are many different people walking around our beautiful campus, each with a fascinating story. Throughout the year, we interviewed several of them. These interviews have been shared on our social media channels. A few previews of the interviews are presented below. To read more, please join our social media channels.

20.000 students

We celebrate our community of 20,000 students with a brand new artwork on our campus. 100 students were photographed for this special project and is also shown in this video. They represent our curious, caring, courageous and connected community.




Maarten Bos, International Business Administration

Tilburg University in one word

‘Inclusive, as there are many different people at the university. This ensures there is a lot of diversity and that you get to know different kinds of people. This interaction can also help you to better understand people and to become a better person.’

Biggest lesson I’ve learned

‘I have not been studying at Tilburg University for a long time, but organizational behavior is always interesting. It is not only useful for your studies, but could also help you in your everyday life.’

Jolijn de Weijer, BSc International Business Administration, and Julia Verbruggen, MSc Human Resource Studies, are members of student rowing association Vidar

Working hard to achieve goals

“If you are a competitive rower, you live a different life from most students. I train nine times a week, watch my diet, and make sure I get plenty of sleep. I enjoy being a student athlete and making friendships to last me a lifetime. Very close friendships are forged in rowing teams. You see each other every day and work hard towards a common goal. I have made friends for life here!” Jolijn says.

Athlete mentality

Vidar is different from other student associations because of its athlete mentality. If you ask Jolijn why Vidar is so special, she will say that everyone is passionate about rowing. “Even if you do not have any competitive ambitions yourself, you are encouraged to achieve the best you can.” And the location is unique. “We have a huge building, right on the water, that’s super,” Julia says.

Manouk, Global Management of Social Issues, went on exchange to KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan

“I’m very much aware of the fact that travel has a bad impact on the environment. But by making sustainable choices, you can travel in a more environmentally friendly way. Air travel often seems an attractive option, but my special traveling experiences happened on trains, where you are among the local population: you can go sight-seeing and experience culture first hand. And it has less environmental impact, too!”

In Kazakhstan, Manouk took courses on political and policy subjects. “The classes were different. The groups were smaller so there was more interaction and different perspectives came up for discussion. I was in groups with students from Kazakhstan, with scholarship students from neighboring countries, and with one or two European or American students.” There were opportunities to discuss different perspectives of political freedom in class. “That was challenging sometimes, but it has also enriched my own understanding.”

Kjell Riteco, International Business Administration, and Quinten Verhaar, Business Economics, are members of student association Plato

Various committees

Plato has many committees that offer opportunities for development. “I am a very active member of the association. I have recently applied for the introduction committee that, among other things, works to tell students about the student association and invites them to become members. Of course your studies are all important, but having a good time as a student is equally important,” Kjell states.

Make new friends every night

Quinten, Plato’s president, became a member when he moved to Tilburg to study here. “I knew nobody when I first lived here. Thanks to the association, I now have a large group of friends. Everyone has time for a chat with you. It is a place where you can meet new friends every night.”

Tessa Chambon, student Liberal Arts and Sciences, student representative in the University Council of our university and vice-chairman of the Board of Learners of the project

“Working with so many passionate people who strive to keep learning, to stay connected and to make an impact on society motivates me every day." With this alliance between various European Universities, she is part of bringing together over 100,000 students, academics and staff from seven leading universities. “The goal of this project is to enable our learners to act as socially engaged European citizens and to have impact on society at large.”

"We are ambitious and curious in nature. By connecting passionate learners and daring to take on major societal challenges we build towards a better future. Through our approach we are able to go beyond borders literally and figuratively.”

Sanne van Kessel, Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, and Bart Bremer, Business Economics, are members of student association St. Olof

Oldest student association

Olof is the oldest student association in Tilburg. It was established in 1927, at the same time as Tilburg University. Its long and rich history distinguishes this association from other student clubs. “When I moved to Tilburg for my studies, I wanted to meet people. It seemed to me the nicest way to do so was to become a member of a student association,” says Sanne.

‘Like I belonged’

Bart wanted to get the most out of his time as a student and joined Olof. “I immediately felt like I belonged. The contact with other members is really close. We talk to each other every day. There are many activities that give you the opportunity to develop yourself.”

Lilly Schurman, double Bachelor’s student in Public Administration and Law, and student-assessor for the Executive Board

“It is important that students are part of the community and feel that their opinions actually matter.”

The university is interested in students’ input in decision-making. This is also evident from one of our four key values, specified in our new strategy: we are curious. In this context, Lilly has been appointed for 12 hours a week as a student-assessor for the Executive Board. She brings the student perspective to the Board’s meetings and liaises with the student-assessors in the Schools, the student organizations, and the student parties in the University Council. She is the first student to fulfil this role. Lilly’s most important spearhead is fostering a pleasant atmosphere at the university whereby students feel that that they are heard. “The input of a student-assessor is really important,” Lilly says. She has noticed that students are sometimes unsure where to take their ideas or complaints. “I want all students to feel they belong to the community. Not merely the largest group, but also the minority groups.”

Tea Miličić, BSc Global Management of Social Issues and member of ESN

Student association with international(ly minded) students

ESN Tilburg is a non-profit student association focusing on international(ly minded) students. Their goal is to enrich student life in Tilburg through a platform for internationalization and integration. Tea Miličić is a board member for ESN Tilburg for the year 2021-2022. She joined ESN to meet new people from all around the world and learn new things. “Ever since I have been a board member for ESN Tilburg, I have been very active within the association. We organize all kinds of events every week, work closely with our committee members and have fun besides working!” 

Hard work, fun atmosphere

Tea says that ESN plays a big role in student life since members do committees, which can help them in their professional and academic lives. ESN Members work hard but they also have a lot of fun together. “All trips that we had with our association were amazing! We went to Oktoberfest in Munich, a Christmas Market in Cologne, etc. All trips were fun and our members enjoyed them. We also got an opportunity to meet other ESN chapters and have fun with them.”

George Y. Sharpe, Tilburg University alumnus

“I will always be thankful for the opportunity that I was given." George received his Master’s degree with the support of the Tilburg University Fund Foundation. "The possibility of taking a Master’s at Tilburg University has set so many things in motion. It has helped me grow as a person but it also helps create opportunities for my family and friends in Liberia so that they can develop, too.”

“When I first read the email that I had been accepted at Tilburg University, I could hardly believe my eyes,” George recounts. In February 2021 George started his Master’s program, and he graduated in January 2022. “My family is proud of my success and so am I."

Studenten Mané Kirakosian, Jamie Piroe and Lizan Cuma, bestuursleden van Students 4 Students

"I am eager to show children from non-Dutch backgrounds that a university degree is an opportunity for all, regardless of background.” Master’s student Mané Kirakosian is one of the board members of Students 4 Students Tilburg. The objective of Students 4 Students Tilburg is to encourage diversity and equal opportunities in education. Mané Kirakosian, Jamie Piroe and Lizan Cuma concluded their term on the board in June.

"My aspiration to be meaningful to others became increasingly stronger.” Jamie explains that she wants to contribute to society next to her studies. “The vacancy for a S4S chair appealed to me because of the prospect of working together with social partners.”

Moreover, Jamie and her fellow board members learned a lot from working for S4S. Lizan: "I have certainly grown. I’ve become more flexible and better at contributing ideas and giving feedback. If that’s how I can help someone grow. That has great value for me.”