“The Global Up Abroad program fit perfectly with what we were looking for our outgoing exchange students,” says Lars Kleinikel, Coordinator Intercultural Learning and Teaching at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences. He added, “At Fontys we strive to develop our students interculturally, in a way that benefits their semester abroad and can have a positive impact on all their personal relations, since “culture” is so much more than just nationality. The Global Up program meets all those needs.”
Fontys is the first major university in Europe which has surpassed 500 learners enrolled in a Global Up program, making a very clear educational and financial commitment to global competence education. This Dutch institution has leveraged Global Up Abroad to prepare students for their experiences at partner universities worldwide. Developed by AFS Intercultural Programs, Global Up Abroad develops learners’ global competence and skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and flexibility before, during and after their international experience.
The participating student group at Fontys University is fairly diverse: they come from different nationalities, study in various languages and have different majors in focus—mainly business programs but also information technology, engineering, logistics.
The ease of use, flexibility and the fact that it is research-based is what attracted Fontys University to the Global Up. They had previously trained some of their staff with the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) with the support of Mick Vande Berg, an expert in global competence. Fontys was ready to take the next step and commit to a full global competence curriculum, and knowing that Mick Vande Berg was involved in developing Global Up, ensured this was an easy and logical choice.
Why else would they recommend this program? “We are very happy with the professional set-up of the program and the very quick support from AFS when needed. Receiving an official certificate is something that our students greatly value,” added Arian van Hulsel, Coordinator International Office at Fontys.
Students who participated in the program echo this satisfaction. Some of the key words they shared about their experience include praising the program’s applicability, and the opportunity to reflect and become more self-confident and independent. “Thank you for the opportunity to broaden my intercultural knowledge and discover new concepts. It was a pleasure to participate in the sessions and learn from other peoples’ experiences,” commented Anna-Maria Mileva, a participating student.
Fontys University of Applied Sciences is a Dutch university with over 44,000 students in several campuses located in the southern Netherlands. Fontys has renewed a second year with AFS to continue using Global Up with future programs.