8 February 2019 • Rosa Groen
‘All your dreams will come true’
The Hague University of Applied Sciences paid an official visit to the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid to promote greater international partnership. This private university has high standards and is open to partnership in all areas. A report.
Fourteen staff members from THUAS paid a two-day visit to Madrid in late January. The aims of the visit ranged from lecturer and student exchanges, partnerships in programmes, international travel and joint blended learning projects. Steps were taken on all fronts. Agreements were reached to embark on a COIL project in the near future with our Communication degree programme in the fourth period this year and a lecturer exchange from the Management & Organisation and Business Finance & Marketing faculties over the coming months. The number of places for students on the Erasmus exchange has also been increased from 5 to 10 across the university of applied sciences.
The visit started on Thursday, 30 January with a guided tour of the university. The first thing we saw was the Simulación Clinica. Here, doctors are ‘humanely’ trained by putting them in small rooms where there are also robots which can be controlled remotely. Students learn how they should perform resuscitation, how to give bad news and in another room, how deliveries and incubators work.
Further on, students were making radio broadcasts and could be seen in an adjacent editing suite in glass booths making a live radio broadcast. A small room behind this housed the communication rooms of the journalism degree programme. Cameras and lighting are suspended from the ceiling and students can change the colour of the background using large partitions.
Universidad Francisco de Vitoria is the fastest growing private university in Spain and has a student population of around 9,000 (and increasing). Internationalisation is a priority. In all programmes, students do not just take core course subjects but also modules on social skills. Mentorship, where students help other students, is compulsory in the first year. In the second year, students work in a hospital or with the elderly.
“Students do not think much of this at the beginning,” Juan Pérez-Miranda, the head of the programme and Vice-Rector for Internationalisation, said frankly. However, they often end up continuing to do voluntary work after their studies. Between twenty and twenty-five percent of the content of the subjects consists of ‘humanity’, which would be categorised under ‘global citizenship’ at THUAS.
Dare to dream
Guillermo Arce, Vice-Dean of International Development, tells an inspiring story about what we can do for each other as partners. “All your dreams will come true” no matter how crazy you may think this is, Arce knows it is possible. His dream is of a joint programme in which students always spend half a year studying in another country. He dreams of a rotating system with universities in Rome, Coventry, The Hague and Madrid. Our dreams are lower-hanging fruit in the form of student and lecturer exchanges, digital learning with COIL, study trips and assisting each other more when doing research.
Belén Navajas, the Director of Internationalisation, has a broad and ready smile for us. She makes sure that everything is on the right track. On day two, we held a round of speed dating with marketing, publicity, business, pedagogy and internationalisation lecturers. Vice-Rector Juan Pérez-Miranda and Guillermo Arce were also present again. The head of Business Administration, José Maria Peláez Marqués, took part too. Directors and lecturers circled around the cafeteria during the speed dates. We gained a better idea of the types of exchanges that are possible and how they work with international students. We left the room with a lot of enthusiasm ready to share what we learned from our brief meetings.
Specific results: a COIL project with the Communication degree programme in the fourth period of 2019, an invitation to Vice-Rector Juan Pérez to the Marketing International Week (faculty of Business Finance & Marketing) in April, an invitation to other lecturers for an exchange with the faculties of Management & Organisation and Social Work & Education, a study trip with students from Business Management Studies planned for May 2020. Naturally, all degree programmes are open for partnership with this university. We will be following this up. We hope we will be able to welcome them in The Hague as warmly as they welcomed us in Madrid.
The visit was organised by the Strategic Partnership Platform at THUAS under the direction of Paul Nixon. The previous visit to the University of Derby in 2017-2018 was a success, and similar visits will be organised in the future for other strategic partners of The Hague University of Applied Sciences.
From left to right: Henk Chin, André van den Heuvel (M&O), Nora Daoud (SWE), Ruud Fortuin (BFM), Adela Garabal Gomez, (M&O), Liselore Goossens (M&O), Pieter de Vos (BFM), Refiya Scheltinga, Rosa Groen (M&O), Theo Bosma (BFM), Claudia Diers-Lienke (M&O), Maria Martina (BFM), Gijs Vermeulen (BFM, M&O), Paul Nixon (Strategic Partnerships), Gwen Klooster-Vois (Front-Office M&O), Belén Navajas (Director of Internationalisation at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria).