26 April, 2012

International Class 2012

first day of classFirst day of classFirst day of classFirst day of classFirst day of classlunch
First day of classfirst day of classfirst day of classcertificate ceremonycertificate ceremonythe certificates of the Rotterdam course
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certificate ceremonycertificate ceremonycertificate ceremonyFirst day of classFirst day of classFirst day of class

International Class 2012, a set on Flickr.

Hello and goodbye international students ! Pictures taken on the first day in class (February) and the final day during the certificate ceremony end of April.
For some a lifechanging experience within those 3 months !

25 April, 2012

A trip to Belgrade, March 2012

A special report by the Belgrade group of students of Pedagogical Work

It was a sunny Wednesday on the 21st of March when at Eindhoven airport 26 students and 2 professors gathered for a trip to Serbia, Belgrade to be more precise. The aim was to have a taste of pedagogy in another country and to learn from the students abroad and of course to have fun while doing that. We were already a bit prepared with help from our fellow students from Belgrade university via this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2EBz5NLt5g&feature=youtu.be
When we arrived after a 2 hour flight and a rough landing (it's not how you fall it's how you get up), we took the city bus that brought us to our hostel in downtown Belgrade. After settling in and freshening up a little, we went out to have dinner in a traditional Serbian restaurant which was tasty, but soon everybody was tired and went to bed to be fit for the next day, when we would visit the Dutch embassy to have a discussion on the interesting history of Serbia and the effects on its image today. We learned that Serbia is now a candidate for the European Union which is a great step for this country. This visit was followed by a day of workshops, lectures and getting to know each other. What followed was a cultural festivity where we had a workshop in making a child based on the diverse pedagogical theories, an interactive exchange of views on pedagogy and andragogy(the science of adult education) and already lots of cross cultural chats with the students. After a long hard day of work, we were free to see the rest of the city by night which a few of us did. People met in all kinds of places to eat where we cannot leave out the street of Skardalija http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skadarlija , a place with great food and a lively atmosphere which has a very bohemian feel to it. But we were already anxious about the next day when we would visit a high school which has a special program for people with special needs and we would end with an intercultural evening where the Dutch and the Serbs would exchange their cultures by dance, songs, presentations and food.
For the food we met early in the morning to visit the biggest green market of Beograd (Serbian for Belgrade), all kinds of fresh food were sold here, unspoiled by chemicals but freshly grown in the countryside outside of Belgrade. We made groups (meat, cheese related product, vegetables, fruit) and everybody went out to get their food for the evening dinner.
We visited the biggest orthodox church outside of Russia which was an interesting experience, as it presents another form of religion and its meaning for the people of Serbia. After all these cultural adventures we were ready to share our culture with the Serbs and we shared a lot: our studies, Guus Meeuwis, the famous Dutch dance called the polonaise including the Cyrillic writing of our own name. After that we all went out to experience Belgrade’s night life first hand.
The next day we were all ready to take a bike ride, 30 kilometers across Beograd, no problem for the Dutch but frowned upon by the Serbian students. We visited a good mix of architecture, nature and places of interest in a sunny setting of 25 degrees centigrade. In the evening we met up with the Serbian students again, where did you ride your bike, don’t you know you could have taken the bus. Apparently, riding a bike is not so customary to them as it is in Holland. A few of us took their chance to visit a football match in the stadium of red star Belgrade, an experience of its own. Of course our Serbian fellow students were more than willing to show us Belgrade by night where we especially noticed the Serbian hospitality regarding visitors from outside of Belgrade. Keep in mind that the view of the world on Serbia is not the most positive one with the wars they had during the falling apart of Yugoslavia, our Srebrenica trauma and the troubles involving Kosovo. The next day we went out sightseeing, shopping and relaxing, a real Sunday feeling with a visit to Zemun, an Austrian like village on the outskirts of Belgrade. This city was the last city where the Austrian Hungarian empire came in the beginning of the 20th century. After a lunch we headed down into the city again to see the sun going down on Belgrade and to say goodbye to the students of Belgrade, there were a few tears and friendships were confirmed by exchanging face book data, e-mail and what other social media are available nowadays. On Monday we arrived back in Holland, a trip which captured the idea of international exchange between universities, pedagogy and people.
As we were writing this story, we were once again reminded of how wonderful it is when people from different cultures meet, that sometimes we put too much weight on the differences there are between cultures. This trip however showed us that, when we commit ourselves to being open, are willing to share thoughts & culture and willing to listen to each other and have a dialogue instead of a debate, the world could be a better place. We, from the Belgrade group, cannot wait to show our country and even more our city to the Belgrade students. Hopefully we will get this opportunity this coming August. With help from Hogeschool Rotterdam we will have a chance to give back to the Serbians what they gave us, namely an opportunity to share their culture, their vision on Pedagogy and hospitality.

Further steps to cooperation

This week another small delegation from the University of Aruba arrived in Rotterdam. Two lecturers had come to the Netherlands to visit two of their students on a placement here. And seized this opportunity to pick up the collaboration talks where we had left off. For now we have mainly aimed at the opportunities that students can take to benefit from the further steps in the process of establishing a mode of cooperation that is of mutual benefit to both universities.
Taking instantaneous notes of the things we discussed and projecting it onto a screen for all to see, helped us to check every step on the way and jointly write down what we agreed on. Good progress was made and remarkably again, we shared so many views on the agenda items.
Helpful in the talks and in all the steps towards collaboration is the fact that both our universities have a common accreditation organisation, namely NVAO, and that we both work with the ECTS credit system. After clarifying the student (credit) mobility issues the next thing will be to focus on lecturer mobility and the sharing of knowledge and expertise on mutually interesting themes. Identifying common interests and finding common ground are steps that virtually have already been taken in the  two previous meetings, so no difficulties are envisaged in that area. Future collaboration steps look promising.