Blog and opinion
12 February 2018 • Denise Mowder
Leaving Den Haag was bittersweet. I wanted to get home to see my friends and family along with my beautiful Sheltie dog, but at the same time I knew I may never return to The Netherlands. Our Dutch lifestyle was simple and we enjoyed the slow pace. Perhaps it was because we were only there temporarily but it was a big change from my normal routine. I liked not having to drive everywhere, find parking, get gas, and deal with traffic. It was nice being able to use the tram to go everywhere. It was nice to go into a market without 45 aisles to walk up and down and a 20-minute wait to check out. But this is the American lifestyle – fast paced and over indulgent. I mean do we really need 15 different types of toilet paper?
My first day back to school was met with 8 email messages from MSU students filled with a variety of reasons they couldn’t come to class and I was greeted with half a dozen students who were extremely late for class. At THUAS these type of messages and actions were rare because students were very cognizant of attending class and being on time. I also found myself lonely in my MSU office! At first I was reticent with sharing an officer with 4 others. But I’ve grown to like it! Tell Klaas and Menandro I miss having them around.
You’re correct about the bureaucracy at THUAS. There are many federal regulations MSU must follow but I was very surprised at the limited academic freedom of the THUAS professors. There seems to be an abundant amount of internal rules and regulations you must weave through and I wonder how our MSU professors would react to having our exams approved by third parties.
The culture of education
It will be interesting to see the results of our research project measuring student engagement between American and international students. From my observation, I can say the social culture of getting a college degree is different between our two countries. The international students work hard at keeping their spot in the program while the US students seem to feel they are owed their spot. Perhaps it’s how they are prepared for their future in the lower grades or perhaps it’s the affordability of tuition and thus the competition is higher.
Juuls, you and I have taken the first step to meld our two Universities. I can envision students from both Universities thriving in these different environments. I can also see how their presence will positively affect our faculty. Unlike the SSMS faculty, which is an array of internationalism, most of the MSU professors are American different only because we grew up in different states in the US. I would love for us to “switch” again but this time…let’s do it in the Spring!
This was Denises last blog. Read Juul Goorens last blog about his life in Denver.
Denise Mowder worked 12 years as a prosecutor. Nowadays she is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. In December and January she was teaching at THUAS. She wrote this blog to THUAS lecturer Juul Gooren who worked in Denver.