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Our experience: Acculturation activities (withdrawn)

The University of Twente is a research university in the Netherlands. The institutional focus is on technical research and the way this technology is used in society. We have been working towards international classroom teaching for the last 20 years, and in this time the university has changed the teaching from lecturer-driven to student-driven education. Most of our classes at the bachelor level are project driven. With an increasing international student population, integration of local and international students becomes more important.

We use international benchmarking questionnaires to understand our position in the world when it comes to items such as university facilities, teacher quality and integration. Through analysis of these questionnaires the university realized international students faced some critical challenges at the university.

- Students face transition difficulties and lack basic understanding of Dutch education
- Segregation of groups exists on campus
- International students miss social support structure

Based on the key issues, a number of projects were defined:

‐ Phase 1. Pre-arrival information provision
‐ Phase 2. Arrival routines and introduction workshops
‐ Phase 3. First semester support

This order follows the level of complexity of changing existing structures: We first focussed on basic
information provision, subsequently on student/student interaction and in the last phase we shifted our focus toward study programme content and staff competences.

All activities were aimed at embedding them within the regular processes, rather than inventing new
organizational structures. After working on acculturation for 3 years, the activities were embedded in the regular university processes, and continued without continued attention from the project group.


Jelle Ferwerda    
University of Twente

Karin Paardenkooper    
University of Twente


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