Blog and opinion
23 January 2018 • Denise Mowder
Soon our planes will be crossing paths as we start our trips home. It’s the last week of classes and I’m sitting at your desk thinking about the past 14 weeks. Being at The Hague University of Applied Sciences has be a great experience and I have new appreciation for the internship program that’s required. It’s amazing to have the connections to place students in organizations such as NATO, Amazon Germany, and Germany National Defense Intelligence, along with numerous energy, manufacturing, and security services. Not only does this requirement give students six months to apply the knowledge they have acquired but also lay the groundwork for future employment.
I felt I graded my Hague students harder than their counterparts in the US. Even though English was their second language, the high quality of their work surprised me. I did have trouble wrapping my mind around students retaking part of a course because they failed their final exam or an assigned essay in a previous term. It was alarming during the final exam when there were students ready to take the final that I had never seen before. They weren’t required to come to class just take the final within a year. This policy seems like a bureaucratic nightmare.
I was also surprised when the assignment due dates aren’t really due dates. For instance, there was an essay assigned and four of my good students never turned it in. I was concerned and emailed them only to learn there was a “re-sit” date later in the month – a kind of second due date. I kept thinking, about the point of giving an original due date. There was still of part of me that wanted to apply late penalty points!
It’s interesting that you bring up the presence of the homeless on US city streets. My husband and I were just commenting that the Dutch must take care of their poor much better than in the US because there aren’t any homeless. Not in front of stores, train stations, or street corners. We never saw any tent cities or anyone huddled up in a corner of a building sleeping. In fact, I never saw any homeless people! However, I don’t share your positive vibe about having the homeless visible. To me it’s a constant reminder how the US has failed those that are less fortunate.
Leaving is always bitter sweet. Of course I can’t wait to see my parents and my dog! But also leaving here not knowing if I will be returning. I think when you stay more than two weeks anywhere you can’t help but think about what it would be like to live permanently. You find yourself thinking “I could live in the apartment” or “I could come to this beach every weekend”. So being here was like a little trial of Dutch life and we both truly appreciated the opportunity.
Read Juul Goorens third 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 is teaching at THUAS. She writes this blog to THUAS lecturer Juul Gooren who currently works in Denver.