27 March, 2014

Spotting differences and similarities between London and Rotterdam

To what extent is the Big Society still a hot issue in London, England ? What are the differences and similarities with the basic ideas addressed in the Dutch Social Support Act (WMO) and the participation society in Rotterdam, Netherlands? And how does all that translate into the way professionals operate in London and Rotterdam? These were some of questions that were the point of departure for 16 master students and 3 lecturers on their international study trip to London.

The annual study trip of the master in Urban Education (MPED) always includes a number of field visits that the students organise among themselves.
This year focused on the children's zone in the White City district and the way this has affected the surrounding neighbourhoods. Another field trip drew attention to the way that the Arsenal brand impacts social life in the immediate surroundings, and yet another visit dealt with the issue of how young people are given a voice in Wandsworth.
Next to the field visits the Rotterdam students attended two lectures and discussed the role and responsibilities of government with London students from London South Bank University.

The week abroad closed down with the Rotterdam students presenting their findings.
On the plane back home everyone could look back on an intensive, enjoyable, surprising and "gezellige" * excursion abroad !

* Even president Obama here in the Netherlands for the Nuclear Summit (March 2014) said in his final speech on departure that the atmosphere of his visit to NL had been truly "gezellig" , an untranslatable word which comes closest to the English term "cosy".