The guests were invited by the International Office in Breda. The visitors were taken around at Xplora and could catch up during a drink at the end of the day. Today they will visit a conference of the European Association for International Education (EAIE) in Antwerp.
One of the guests is Yvona Vyhnánková, head International Office from the Palacký University in the Czech Republic. She is impressed by the learning environment of Avans. ‘It is an open environment, with a lot of possibilities for group work. The classrooms provide an opportunity to interact. That is interesting. Our students work much more individualistic and less practical. There is more attention for theory lessons.’
Vyhnánková feels content about the organized day. ‘It is a good addition to the conference tomorrow. There will be more than five hundred participants and it will be hard to talk extensively with others. It’s nice to have that opportunity here.’
Rozalija Radlinskaité is head International Office from the Alytus College in Lithuania. ‘Here you can really talk about educational methods for instance. I know quite some people here, but you are also introduced to persons you don’t know.’ She is impressed by the building. ‘It is my second visit at Avans and it is an imposing building. You can’t compare it to my school, which has only 1900 students.’
There are also some students from Turkey and Poland at the drink. One of the Polish students says that it’s fun to talk about her experiences. ‘I study Environmental Technology and Management in Breda. I arrived two weeks ago and felt really welcome because of the friendly people. I’ve noticed that students work together in groups a lot. I wasn’t used to that, but I think it is a good preparation to the real life. It is nice to exchange thoughts with Polish university staff.’
Hasan Birol Yalçin from the Turkish Abant Izzet Baysal University tells that at the university where he works, collaborating in groups is totally normal, but that he considers a learning environment like Xplora as innovative. He says Avans and the Abant Izzet Baysal University exchanged teachers. ‘It gives a good opportunity to learn from the different teaching methods. We are quite tough on students and encourage them to work hard.’
After the tour at Avans, everyone traveled to Antwerp to be present at the EAIE conference. That conference will assemble education experts from different countries and provide an opportunity to meet each other and talk about the challenges in the educational sector. This years theme is: Re-designing the map of European Higher Education. [MvD]