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Students say that visiting CHE in the Netherlands is one of the best experiences of their degree

Jan 25, 2019

Over the past few years many students from our partner school in the Netherlands have come to study for a semester here in Canada. We in turn send a group of students for a two week course in Holland at the beginning of January. While likely you have seen our posts around this time of year about some students at CHE (Christelijke Hogeschool Ede) you may still be wondering – what are the students actually doing overseas? And so today your questions will be answered.

Classes in Canada are structured very differently than the Dutch approach. While here a student will spend most of their time in class or reading textbooks the students from the Netherlands spend most of their time in internships doing hands on learning throughout the semesters. Therefore for this course students learned with the Dutch approach. They also took the course with students from Messiah College, so not only were they equipped to learn about Dutch culture but also about American culture. The key concepts for this course included experimental learning, personal growth, cross-cultural learning and challenging conversations about faith, relationships, etc.

The students visited Amsterdam to learn from many museums about world history; including the wars, Anne Frank, artists, musicians, and culture throughout Europe. They also heard about the current problems the Netherlands are facing, such as human trafficking, the EU, the rising water levels, etc. and how the Dutch are attempting to resolve them.

After this the students went to CHE and received a bicycle, their transit system for their time in Holland (a cultural learning experience for sure). Then for the following 10 days they lived with Dutch families to get a first hand idea of what daily life in Holland is like.

The first portion of this week students spent learning specifically about the Netherlands. They visited the open air museum where they saw many different cultural activities, such as clog carving, pancake making, etc. In the evening they attended a Bible study with students from CHE in a bar (a different setting than expected, but that’s how it’s done in Holland)! Students also experienced Rotterdam to see the more modern side of Holland with art and architecture as Rotterdam was one of the towns destroyed in the war. They also went to the Delta works to learn how the Dutch create nature like no other country in the world and to learn about the flood in 1953.

Students also had the great opportunity to spend a Sunday with their hosts, experiencing a typical day for them.

Finally students learned about the history of Europe as a whole. Then they went to Brussels, Belgium where they were able to interview Europeans first hand on issues of their choosing; Brexit, culture, the EU, etc.

The final day the students debriefed with one another about their learning outcomes and how they could take what they learned into the rest of their studies and work. Following this they said goodbye to their host families and headed back to Canada.

Overall students continually agree that this is one of the best experiences of their degree. So next time you see one of our fellow travelers be sure to ask them what they learned and maybe you’ll realize a trip to the Netherlands is just what you need too!

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