64 HAS students visit British partner university, Harper Adams

Internship in New Zealand? A few months studying at a partner university abroad? A visit to the Ukraine? These are just some of possibilities for gaining international experience on offer at HAS University of Applied Sciences. And they are the reasons for the high scores we’ve been receiving in the Dutch National Student Survey for years when it comes to the international aspects of our study programmes. For example, a 4.3/5 for studying or internship abroad. This aspect of our study programmes is currently being further strengthened, thanks to the new chair in Business & Enterprise Development, which was set up at the start of this academic year.

Visiting professor

Wim de Koning is the current holder of the new position, which focusses on encouraging both national and international entrepreneurship in the agrifood sector. The chair is a joint initiative with Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom, where Wim de Koning has been appointed visiting professor. In addition to regularly teaching in the UK, Wim also participates in various projects and works closely with HAS students on a masters or minor programme, or who are on an internship. There are currently 17 in total, and this number is expected to increase during the next academic year.

HAS University Harper Adams

Student exchange

The contacts with Harper Adams also ensure that basic student exchanges can take place regularly within the study programmes. For example, 64 second-year students on the Business Administration & Agribusiness programme recently visited Harper Adams with a number of their lecturers as part of the International Trade module. “The aim of a visit like this is international awareness,” says Wim. “We want students to become aware that a whole world awaits them beyond the HAS and beyond the Netherlands.”

Lecture on Brexit

A number of students organised the visit themselves. “This enabled us to put the programme together ourselves,” says Rory Ruiter, one of the organisers. “It really helped that Wim had already put us in contact with the right people at Harper Adams. This meant we could focus on organising useful company visits and presentations by the university about their own activities. We also had a lecture about the impact of Brexit, met with other students at the university and we also gave a presentation.” According to Rory, the added value of going to England is mainly the fact that England fits best in the module, which is given entirely in English. “The United Kingdom is one of the Netherlands’ largest trading partners and, with Brexit on the horizon, it’s particularly interesting for us to find out more about the country.”

Gaining a mutual understanding

Wim explains the significant impact such a programme has: “The contact with British students enables our students to discover that, one the one hand, students in another country face the same challenges, but that, on the other hand, there are also considerable differences. They gain a mutual understanding. The students will come across each other again later: after their internships in the third year, the Harper Adams students will visit HAS. And this is already having a positive effect, and new friendships are being created.” So, student exchanges are not only good for increasing their network, but they also teach participants to work across borders. Invaluable skills in our internationally oriented agrifood sector.