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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Marina Pérez Clemente, Katholieke PABO Zwolle, Mobility for Study, University of Valencia, Spain.



University of Applied Science, Teacher Training Institute Primary Education
Hogeschool Katholieke PABO Zwolle 

Ten Oeverstraat 68, 
8012 EW Zwolle, 
The Netherlands 
Tel.: +31 (0)384217425 
Fax: +31(0)384210914 
Erasmus code: NL ZWOLLE06


Harrie Poulssen (international Officer)
Email: h.poulssen@kpz.nl

Bert Thole (Coordinator IM)
Email: b.thole@kpz.nl


About the University: 

 The Katholieke Pabo Zwolle, also known as KPZ, is an independent Interactum University of Applied Sciences (Dutch "hogeschool"). There are over 650 students and a staff of about 70. This means that the KPZ is one of the many small- to medium-sized institutes for higher professional education in the Netherlands. 

The International Minor Program(IM) is a five month course in English for 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). The website contains all the necessary information about our teacher training course in which we combine theory and practice and offer a varied study programme with a clear structure using the module system and ECTS. For the IM you need a required level of English like TOEFL or IELTS.

How to apply

Each year there is an International Minor for the spring semester from 1st of February until 1st of July.

Deadline for application is: 1 November (previous calendar year). You need to fill the form from the website with information about you. It is necessary to have a Skype account to do an interview before you are finally accepted.

Before I came here:

I kept in contact with Ria Posthumus (International officer assistant) since I knew I was going to the Netherlands to my Erasmus studies. She sent me information about accomodation and about the general course, and also about the form I had to fill for my application. 

From my home university, in Valencia, I did not get many information so all I could get was thanks to the university of destiny.

In november, after the application, I had an interview with Bert Thole (coordinator of the International Minor) and he asked questions related to education, why I chose the Netherlands, my experience in schools... And I had to wait one week until they send me a letter of admittance. 

After that, I started to look for accommodation with the other three Spanish girls I knew I was coming with, because Katholieke PABO Zwolle offers a camping, but it is a little bit far from University as well as from the city. There is a student residence next to the PABO and we four tried to get a room there. It was difficult but finally we got them by sending many emails and being insistent.

The staff from PABO were really helpful and they asked me when was I arriving to Zwolle to arrange a picking up. Bert Thole came to the train station very early in the morning to take us to the residence, what is very kind per part of the University.

Info about the general things and the first weeks:

The students from the International Class are apart from the Dutch students who attend to the PABO. We were 15 at the beginning but after 3 months three of our classmates left to continue in their own country, so we finished 12 students.

All the teachers we were going to had welcomed us the first day and introduced themselves. They were all very open and talkative and wanted us to talk as well. During the first week we had an Introduction Week in which we get to know each other and also some teachers. We did ice-skating, games with them or even we went to a pub! They are very friendly and close and are used to have this kind of relationship with their students. For me was weird at the beginning because I come from a huge University in which professors does not know who you are.

Studies at my institution (University of Valencia) and at the guest institution (Katholieke PABO Zwolle)

I came here because I saw the courses were so different from what I am used to have in Spain. In the Netherlands Education is more advanced, they have more freedom and alternative pedagogies are frequent, so I wanted to 'see world' before coming back to Spain and finish my studies. I thought it could give me a wide perspective of education and eager to come back and try to change the way education is in Spain.

My courses: 

 1) English language (1 ECTS) 

The objective of this course revolves around writing and presenting an academic paper in English in which your own written work will play a pivotal role. This very short course of 4 lessons focuses both on development of academic writing skills and strenghtening presentation skills. 

 2) Culture and Society ( 4 ECTS) 

The students use their experience and the knowledge they have mastered of Dutch history, culture, art and society as a tool to understand and explore their own and other societies. Moreover students are confronted with the questoins in which way history, culture and society shape our cultural identity, our way of being. 

3) Pedagogics (5 ECTS) 

We will examine reform pedagogy in all its aspects. We will see which concepts are still used today. 
We wonder what a present day and future child need. We explore the new didactics and explore existing concepts which have caught on in the Netherlands. We have visited Dutch alternative schools (as Dalton or Montessori) which has given us a wider vision of their own Educational System. We have worked on our own Educational system (Spanish) and compared with Dutch using the Boland Model.

 4) Dutch language (3 ECTS)

This is a Dutch course for our class. We learn the basics of the language, for example to introduce ourselves, talk about our hobbies, colors, show someone the way, ect. In the second part of the course we have analyzed general patterns in languages and used scientific papers and a documentary to learn about languages. 

5) Coaching/Counselling and tutorship (CCT / 3 ECTS) 

The CCT is different from other modules, since most of the content is not definite yet. 
There will be time for teambuilding activities and for personal coaching. Moreover students will be prepared for the practical training. The assignments are about writing a log book in the first period and to come up with your ideal school in the second one.

6) DRAMU (Drama and Music) (2 ECTS)

Starting with rhythm activities, movement and finishing with song for children we learn to understand the meaning of rhythm, melody and harmony. All native songs will be produces on seet music and recorded one CD.

For the second period we had Drama. We had to record a movie using theoretical aspects we had learnt during the lessons. This part was funny and the team enjoyed a lot.

7) Project week "Randstad" (2 ECTS)

During the semester we will take part in a project week and a number of cultural activities. In this week (in Amsterdam and Den Haag) we will visit a number of cultural and social institutions. 

8) Research (5 ECTS)

The research modules offer a good method to examime educational reform. During practical training we will be at school where we will do our research. The course was not very interesting for the students, but the teachers and coordinators were opened and listening to our comments to improve for next year.

9) Teaching practice (4 ECTS) 

This is the main and for me the most important part of the whole semester. All the students do their teaching practice in Dutch schools. I did my teaching practice in Koningin Emma Daltonschool, which is a school with reformed pedagogics and I learnt a lot.

10) Teacher in Europe student conference (1 ECTS) 

Students learn in an international environment how to design a project under Erasmus + and to complete a final proposal. I was disappointed with this conference, but they will change it for next years as for our feedback.



The University has an arrangement with the Camping of de Agnietenberg where students live in bungalows of three. They have their own small room and share the kitchen, dinning room and bathroom. It is 20 minutes by bike from the University and from the city center and the rent is €375-. I was living in a student residence which is two minutes by bike from University and 10 minutes by bike from the city centre. There are shops nearby and many other Erasmus students living in the same building. There are two individual rooms per floor and the rest you share: bunk bed, kitchen and bathroom. There is also a balcony which connects all the rooms. The rent is €305- for the shared room and around 70 euros plus per month for the individual room (in which you also share kitchen and bathroom).


Since the first day I arrived here I bought a bike and I used it every day. It is the most comfortable transport and the roads and ways are totally adapted to it. It is very safe and I enjoyed that a lot! There are grouptickets you can get for 7 euros (there are Facebook groups to achieve 10 people) and travel to any city in the Netherlands. If you cannot get those tickets, travelling with train it is a little bit more expensive than in Spain. 

Life in the Netherlands 

There are many bars and restaurants. In Het Vliegende Paard or Flying Horse (as we, international students, call it) they prepare dinner every week day from very good prices. International students are also used to go out to that pub, but there is another one, De Stoof, nearby where we also had fun few times!

When the weather is nice, there are many parks and lakes we enjoyed visiting. And riding the bike above the sun is also a great experience. There are little villages nearby where you can get riding your bike.




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