A Look Inside ErasmusX Part II: My Experience as a Student Assistant at ErasmusX

4 min readJun 10, 2021
Story written by ErasmusX student assistant & intern Pascalle Tanis

In the previous part of this blog series, “Part I: A Short Introduction”, I introduced myself and explained how I became a student assistant at ErasmusX. The word “assistant” is often defined as “a person who ranks below a senior person”, however, my experience working as a student “assistant” gave me a completely different experience. Let me tell you why 😉.

On the 14th of September, I became a student assistant for ErasmusX, two days later I had my online briefing with Alex (Whitcomb). In this briefing, he explained to me what was expected from me, and he introduced me to the project I would be working on. A few hours later I met Alex and some other colleagues for the first time in real life for what was called an “internet stress test” to test the WiFi at a possible office location for our team. What surprised me was how easy-going and chill all the team members I met were. As I am always quite nervous for first encounters, I was very relieved when I noticed a very relaxed atmosphere among the team members. It really made me feel at ease and I still remember confirming the positive words of my sister, who already worked there for some time, and thinking “woah, this indeed is a very chill team”.

In my first few weeks, I got to know the entire ErasmusX team and how they operate. It goes as follows. So, every Monday morning everybody gathers on Zoom for what is called the weekly “Team Stand Up” meeting. This meeting is a way to start the week and for everybody to explain what their plans and priorities are for the current week. Then on Tuesday mornings, there is the “Weekly PM Update” which offers everyone in the team time to present interesting updates on the projects they do. Although, already having read most of the documentation on each of ErasmusX’ projects, both of these weekly meetings allowed me to really get a grasp on every project’s progress and who performed which tasks within the team. To close each workweek and start the weekend, there is the “close-down meeting”. In this meeting, everybody is given the chance to talk about their weeks’ achievements and afterward, there is time for some fun time. This can be anything like “draw something” or a dance battle, as long as it is fun! These close-down meetings are probably also how I really got to know the team. In addition, these meetings revealed how completely crazy the team is… Haha, no. Or actually, yes. But you know, the good kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that creates an awesome team vibe and makes you feel at ease within a team. And so, I have to admit that my sisters’ words and my initial thoughts of the team seemed to be more than just!

ErasmusX consists of a super diverse and diversely skilled team of both full-time employees and student assistants. Each member, both student assistants and full-time employees, work on several projects concerning education innovation. As a student assistant, I was expected to work 8–12 hours a week and I worked on 2 different projects. Even though I started working at ErasmusX in the midst of the corona pandemic, my team members put in great effort to make me feel part of the team and get to know me. I still remember Jonathan (Flores) initiating to meet at Erasmus Pavilion to grab a coffee so that we would get to know each other. I received a calendar invite from him to meet for 1 hour. This turned out to be a prolonged super fun get-together of 3,5 hours and me having to switch to soda because I wouldn’t be able to handle the caffeine rush otherwise. Not only was it super fun to get to know Jonathan on a personal level, but I feel like this also really helped and improved our working relationship and efficiency. And this not only goes for Jonathan but that’s what I really noticed with the rest of the team as well. Within ErasmusX everybody is so involved with each other and with other projects because of the weekly meetings and fun time, which really contributes to an amazing team culture. And you know what they say: “where there is a great team culture, there is great (team)work”. And this is exactly what I experienced working here!

As a student assistant within this team, I was surprised by the level of autonomy and trust I received. I was expected to schedule my work time myself, initiate ideas, voice my opinion, and complete serious tasks concerning the projects. Instead of working FOR the team, I worked WITH them! ErasmusX thus really manages to fully incorporate the student assistants within the team by giving them an equal voice. Because of this, I felt a great sense of engagement and motivation. Also, Farshida (Zafar), the “big boss”, believes in the power of mistakes. And I guess that’s the team’s superpower. This does not mean it is a team of failure, rather it means that this team sees failure as a chance to improve, a chance to innovate. And so, this team taught me to ‘learn by doing’. Make mistakes, and then do better 😉.

And you might wonder ‘how can you be so positive?’ or assume I sugarcoated my experience but let me tell you this: I did not. As of now I am even working here as a full-time intern because ErasmusX is just simply pretty amazing. So, stay tuned as I will talk about that more in my next blog!




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