Back in 2020 Breda’s MBO and HBO Schools, together with the municipality were searching for an initiative that would guide new students through Breda during the desperate pandemic times. That is when Isabelle Schol and An van Dixhoorn brought both their heads and hearts together with their ambition to craft a program to help new students on their path to exploring their new city, it’s people and the ever giving activities Breda has to offer. And so, in 2021 GoodMood was born.
With the third edition just around the corner, we spoke to Isabelle Schol about this great Breda initiative.
The making of GoodMood
The initiative started in 2020 from the municipality of Breda and several educational institutions to help students navigate the city during the pandemic and support them in making connections that can lead to new friendships. Not surprising, because in those years national research showed young adults struggling with performance pressure and the increasing feeling of fear. Isabelle Schol and An van Dixhoorn expanded on this initiative and that is how GoodMood was born in 2021.
For our students
For Isabelle, feeling at home and secure in the city you study in is a key condition to your wellbeing. She believes if you are feeling connected to the new city and its people within the first years of your study then those students are more likely to complete their education. There semes to also be a higher chance those students will stay after they graduate and develop into young professionals. That is exactly what Breda needs.
It is a completely normal experience to feel a strange and homesick when students are starting off studying in a new city and for some Breda and the Netherlands even mean a new country altogether. GoodMood’s goal it so help students with making their first steps on their path of having a satisfying first couple of years as a student in Breda. Isabelle Schol continues “GoodMood provides a positive uplift to both the physical and mental well-being of students in Breda. The program offers a platform, provides guidance to students, and fosters a sense of community.”
What can you expect of GoodMood?
The free program starts off after the introduction weeks of the academies and after the autumn holidays. The program is catered for all, national and international students in Breda with over 80 activities and workshops that take place all over the city to choose from and to participate in. Just to give the students an idea what’s in the program there is; Acroyoga in the Chapel of BUas, skateboard lessons at Pier15, ‘kickstart for aspiring musicians’ in the concert and event hall the Mezz, Blind Walls Gallery walking tour, cooking workshop at de Rooi Pannen, bouldering at boulderhal Bruut. Wait, and we can’t forget the cozy speed friending event at BUas!Check the Program
The thought behind GoodMood
We asked Isabelle about the thought behind GoodMood. She explains “feeling at home isn’t just having a nice room or place to stay at, but it is about feeling valued. That you can be who you want to be (you can be you) that you can build yourself and that you feel at home with yourself." When you have that then you also make authentic connections and that can happen through participating in sports, a fun workshop, or through something more serious like a coach session. Or to talk to someone about your internal struggles.
Wishes for the future
Isabelle and An proudly organize the program together with their small team and are grateful for the collaboration and efforts of the schools in Breda. “It’s really a great project of value that is focused on the wellbeing of young people. We want to keep it personal, so there is room for meaningful connections.
She continues “It makes me really happy to see that there is a need for what we do and that there is a target group amongst the students for which this is made for.”
The wish for the future is to become a permanent and reoccurring event each year and to have about 2,000 students participating in the program over the two weeks. And to add and have more hidden pearls of Breda participate in the program.