Maran van der Dussen

This week’s journal, Maran van der Dussen

Every week a board member or consultant will talk you through a small biography, and more importantly, a little insight into their life, what parts of their agenda are devoted to TIME, and what parts aren’t.

This week, I will take over the blog and tell you something about my experiences with TIME over the last two years. Let’s first start with a small introduction. My name is Maran van der Dussen, I am 25 years old and live in Tilburg. Last year, I joined TIME to Indonesia as Travel Planner and member of the Board. Right now, I’m doing my board year as Secretary at study association Asset | Marketing and therefore I’m this years’ TIME coordinator. One of my biggest hobbies is travelling, which makes sense when you used to be Travel Planner. Although it might be very busy during a board year, I still like to spend my weekends with my family or friends, go places and enjoy a different nature and culture. Although the TIME board thinks I’m only at the beach, I have actually visited some interesting places last year, like Krakow, Ljubljana, Cala d’Or and of course Indonesia.

Right now, TIME is working on their preliminary research in order to be well prepared for the research trip in October. In this blog, I want to take you back in time (padum tsch) to the same period one year ago and tell you about my experiences as Travel Planner.

Let’s go back to Thursday 19th of July, 2018. Together with Justin (treasurer of TIME 2018) I was walking the ‘Nijmeegse 4 Daagse’ when we heard that we had a GO for the research trip. This extra boost didn’t gave us energy for the last day of walking only, but also for the busy period to come where all flights, apartments, excursions, shuttles, translators, etc. had to be arranged and the Travel Booklet (the holy bible for the Travel Planner) had to be finished. Besides these bookings and keeping the social platforms up to date, we were also busy with assisting the consultants in their preliminary research. Together with Hans Haans (who gave some special lectures about conducting a preliminary research or about how to conduct interviews during the research trip), the consultants managed to be well prepared for their research in Indonesia.

On Saturday October 20th, we were ready for takeoff. After a long trip, we arrived in Jakarta. Our first meeting was already scheduled, so on Monday morning we suited up and went to the Embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta for a presentation about doing business in Indonesia. After that, the rollercoaster didn’t stop and we scheduled meeting after meeting. Time literally flies during these four weeks, when you go from breakfast to your taxi to a meeting, back home in the taxi again, work with translators to arrange new meetings or take a moment to prepare the weekend excursions and have a board meeting in the evening.  Finally, when there was some time left we went off to a rooftop bar or jazz café for some relaxation (or joining the jazz band, which was really cool). I have never ever experienced living in a rush like this before. It’s crazy to look back and think about all the positive energy you get when working on the project and preparing the trip for almost a year, and then in four weeks to ‘just do it’.

As Travel Planner, it was my job to arrange excursions in the weekends as well. We did several very impressive and memorable activities like climbing Mount Bromo or sail to an uninhabited ‘Expeditie Robinson’-like island. For me, this was one of the most fun parts of being Travel Planner. However, it brought some personal learnings as well. One of my learnings during this trip was communication to a group. An example of this is when and how I introduced the schedule for the weekend. I always want to inform people the best way possible. I used to give a lot of detailed information so they know exactly what they are up to. It turned out to work best if you only share the most important info, and the rest will become clear automatically. After using the so-called ‘cheese slicer’ in my texts during the trip and in other projects afterwards, I did improve my communication skills a lot.

In those four weeks, it was very important to make a good schedule, have efficient meetings and pick priorities wisely in order to manage the trip efficiently. Like my communication example, you learn a lot during these four weeks. We had personal evaluation meetings with TIME supervisors during the trip where we discussed these learnings and obstacles to further improve them during the rest of the project. However, because you live in such a hectic rush during those four weeks, most of the personal evaluation of the project follows after the trip. There is a longer way to go to add all these learnings and improved skills to your daily way of working. That’s the reason that, when we got back from the research trip, I decided to join the board of Asset Marketing and improve the learnings and skills even more.

With a lot of dedication for the project, my TIME story has become one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I am sure it will be the same for this years’ team.

I wish TIME 2019 lots of success and an unforgettable experience on their trip to Japan & China!