"Exchanging international perspectives broadens your view of the world"
Around fifty higher education institutions from all over the world visited HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) on 26 September. During this 'Utrecht Science Park campus visit', 85 international colleagues were immersed in everything HU and the city of Utrecht have to offer for their (future) exchange students.
Education partners from all over the world gathered for the annual European Association for International Education (EAIE) conference, this time organised in Rotterdam. The perfect time to invite the partners to visit HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. "Although a lot of international collaboration can take place digitally these days, it is also important to keep seeing each other”, says Nikolien van Lidth de Jeude, coordinator of the campus visit and advisor on internationalisation at HU. “This way partners can really experience what the HU stands for, and it also helps to strengthen the mutual connection even more. There is such an enthusiastic vibe, truly amazing."
In a world where we need to work together across borders to address the major challenges we face, such as climate change and poverty, it is important to connect with each other. Every year, approxiamatly 500 students from the HU go abroad to study for a semester and the HU receives a similar number of students from partner universities on campus. "It is an absolute added value for a student to do part of the study abroad. Besides developing academic skills, such an international experience also gives you a broader perspective of the world. You’re exposed to different cultures, you develop life skills, and it opens doors to friendships across borders and global career opportunities," Van Lidth de Jeude explains.
During the campus visit, the HU welcomed international partners from all over the world including South Korea, Scotland, Indonesia, Australia, Finland and Japan. With these institutions, HU exchanges not only students but also employees. The visitors had the opportunity to visit HU's campus, meet their own students studying here, and engage in discussions about their collaboration. After the campus visit, they also got a city tour through the medieval centre of Utrecht.
Currently, two students from Japan are studying Creative Business at HU. Masamine Tamai from the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies: "We train our students to be global citizens, and in the single cultural country that Japan is studying abroad is essential. In total around eighty to ninety percent of our students study abroad. We really appreciate the diversity that the HU offers to our students. And in some ways, studying in the Netherlands will give our student an advantage when starting their career. It's not so common to have a Dutch experience as a Japanese student. It will set you apart from the rest."
HU also exchanges lecturers with University College Denmark. Heather Johanssen: "The value of a flipped classroom, as we like to call it, where our lecturers visit each other's class is very significant. They bring the international aspect into their subject-related programme and broaden their horizons at the same time. The approach of working with other cultures makes you realise that there are many common problems, but different societal solutions to these problems."
For the coming years, the HU remains committed to developing its network of partner universities and further strengthening ties with them. "In a global world, it is important to keep investing in your international relationships. For the benefit of our students, staff ánd society," Van Lidth de Jeude said.