Growth is encouraged here

Director Deborah Mevissen asked student Lucy Isenia if she wanted to spend an orientation day at the service department. Lucy didn’t have to think twice about this offer. A mother of two, Lucy came to the Netherlands from Curaçao at the age of 27 to study business administration. She wanted to develop herself. And she was certainly not going to pass up an orientation day with a director of The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” explains Lucy about her choice to study in the Netherlands. It also meant she was separating from her husband. “I was scolded because family is very important in Curaçao. And I can understand their reaction, I was hurting people with my departure. Nevertheless, my parents supported me and said: Lucy, you can do it! And here in the Netherlands I get a lot of support from my sisters and friends.”


“After completing my pre-university education, I found a job, but I always dreamed of going to university. It’s not easy to build a career as a wife and mother on Curaçao. The mentality in the Netherlands is different. It doesn’t matter whether you were born here or not. People in the Netherlands are open to change. Growth is encouraged here. I do miss Curaçao. I feel a sense of peace there that I don’t feel here, but I don’t want to go back.”

Difficult time

“The first period was difficult; the children missed their father. But I am used to getting things done on my own. Many women on Curaçao are used to that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they go about it the right way. Fortunately, I am good at organising things. I love planning and I like having an overview. I believe that’s my secret to success. I was always a bit of a planner, but I definitely honed my planning skills in the Netherlands.”

Making choices

“It’s not easy to combine motherhood and studying. You have to remember to make time for yourself and for your children. It’s all about making choices. I chose a full-time degree programme, because I wanted to be home with my children in the evening. I have a lot of respect for people who do a part-time degree programme, who combine working and going to school. You are tired from working from nine to five and then still have school at night.”

Vip lunch

“Every time I walk to the Hague University of Applied Sciences and see the buildings, I think about how happy I am to be here. Right now I am doing an internship at Team Campus and am conducting my graduation research on the connection between academic success and the introduction period. Team Campus is part of the service department Education, Knowledge & Communication. Thanks to Hanneke Kadijk at Team Campus I was invited to the VIP lunch Deborah organises once a month, to get to know the staff members better. After lunch, she asked if I wanted to join her for an orientation day.”


“Of course I wanted to! I wanted to know what it’s like to be a director and also be the mother of three children. How does she do it? I attended several meetings, including an Executive Board meeting about an assessment. It was interesting, I like to observe. The participants were professional; there were criticisms, but nothing personal.”

Handling criticism

“Later I discussed this with Deborah. I have a hard time handling criticism. People in the Netherlands are very direct and I had to get used to that. Deborah said: when you attend this type of meeting, you have to prepare for possible criticism and plan your response beforehand. It was a helpful conversation.”

Better prepared

“It’s important to accept the criticism and not immediately become defensive; you need to be prepared for criticism. I can apply this knowledge in multiple situations in my life, in my relationships and as a mother. I was very happy to have the opportunity to job shadow Deborah. I got a taste of how things work in a large organisation. I will now be better prepared for the workplace in the Netherlands.”