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Windesheim Focuses Internationalization Efforts on Collaboration

  • Friday 21 April 2023
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Windesheim’s ‘International week’, which – quite deliberately so – is hosted in the same week as King’s Day, is dedicated to innovation of internationalization programmes in education. A large number of international guests have been invited for discussions about innovation of internationalization programmes in education and research, and new initiatives will be developed. All this serves to achieve the aim of preparing students better for their future.

About 100 guests from over 25 different countries will be coming to Windesheim for the International Week. All these guests represent partner institutions that Windesheim has collaborated with in various areas for many years. Together with Windesheim lecturers and students, the theme of Internationalization will be addressed in this week. This may involve the development of intercultural skills, but also collaborative development of innovative teaching methods. This way complex issues in society are reviewed from various perspectives in order to find adequate solutions. To Windesheim this constitutes a major pillar of high-quality education and research, preparing our graduates better for their future of learning, working and living in an intercultural society and an increasingly international labour market.

Programme of new, innovative teaching methods

The programme is highly diverse: both international guests and Windesheim staff will be delivering lectures, teaching classes and giving workshops. Experiences will be exchanged on a variety of subjects, including the relationship between migration and well-being, intercultural entrepreneurship, sustainable ICT, the Windesheim Living Lab (didactic innovation centre) and of course a workshop on cycling as a sustainable means of transport.

Windesheim will also be sharing some of its latest teaching methods in the area of cultural skills development, including the WISE (short for Windesheim Intercultural Skills Explorer) method, a training programme to teach students greater self-reflection from their own cultural background, making it easier for them to work together in international or intercultural teams. And there is also the Value Creators method. In this concept, students tackle a complex international sustainability problem by collaborating with other international organizations and communities. This concept was recently nominated for the Triple E Awards(opens in new tab) in the ‘Best SDG Initiative of the Year’ category and previously won third prize in the Dutch Higher Education Awards.

More options available to students

About ten years ago, offering a study-abroad semester seemed the only way to internationalize education. In the past few years, however, Windesheim has added a significant number of new Internationalization options. Much needed, because not all students have funds and practical circumstances that enable them to go abroad, while intercultural skills are definitely important to all students of all programmes. Examples of such new options are Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and Virtual Exchange. These are short-term activities in which students of Windesheim and of universities abroad collaborate exclusively online on an assignment for a company or organization. Nursing students, for instance, collaborated in the ‘Families in Crisis’ project, while business students tackled challenges involved in the roll-out of 5G.

Developing new programmes can take years

In  the next few years Windesheim will continue to add internationalization options to programmes. The upcoming International Week is dedicated to networking with partner universities to further discuss the content of these new collaborative efforts. Developing such a new programme can take years, because – unlike in our Dutch culture – it’s the custom in some other cultures to get to know each other much better before taking action and starting to develop a programme together. This means that several meetings are needed in order to build mutual trust before any collaborative efforts can even start. And that’s precisely the reason for inviting the international universities in the week of King’s Day: to allow them to experience Dutch culture, which of course comprises not just the business culture, but especially also the broader social context, including festivities.



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