Monday, March 4, 2013

Faculty – Consider a Trip to the Netherlands

There’s plenty to be learned by visiting academic colleagues overseas. The Vol State International Education program is putting a call out for Vol State faculty members who want to travel to the Netherlands later this year. It is part of an ongoing academic exchange program we have with Dutch colleges. Karen Hutson went last year. She was interested in how they teach Dutch as a second language.

“It was beyond what I thought it would be,” she said. “I could see the way they managed the program. I observed several different sites and several different teachers. It was really interesting seeing how their school system worked. It broadened my whole view. I got some really good ideas.”

Hutson was in Utrecht. She was hosted by Ria Gerrits, who teaches Dutch as a second language at ROC Midden-Nederland. Karen stayed in Gerrits' home as part of the exchange. 

“At first I thought that would be uncomfortable. But they (the organizers) are really good at pairing you up, so it really worked out great. She was great. When they pair you up it’s usually a person of your same age and we had a lot of the same interests.”

It’s not all work. Hutson had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, check out a real castle and see the famous Dutch tulip fields.

Hutson also hosted Garrett when she made the trip to the United States. Many people feel uncomfortable about that aspect of the exchange, but Huston says it went quite well.

“Ann-Marie had done so much planning for the visit here that it made it easy. We didn’t see each other all of the time and didn’t have to entertain her all of the time. But she cooked dinner for us one time and we shared lots of our food and culture.”

When asked if she would do it again Huston responds with an immediate yes.

“It was really incredible.”

If you’re interested in an exchange program with a Dutch faculty member contact Ann-Marie Ruttenbur soon. She can send you an info sheet and application. The deadline to apply is April.

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