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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Stephanie Oswald, Saxion University, the Netherlands, Mobility for Study, PHST

Exchange Program (TEC - Teacher Training for European Competences)

This program was developed to work on European Competences to broaden the view on education or even to become an International Teacher or a Coordinator of international projects at a school. The focus of this course lies on globalization and intensifying the contact between European Universities. It prepares future teachers for the more internationally oriented education of the future. 

The big advantages of this program are that you do not have to choose courses by your own to get the credits you need for this semester (in total 30 credits) and mostly I had enough time during the modules to work on the given tasks. In some courses we also made short and interesting excursions to get to know Enschede better.

My courses:

European Professionalism:

The focus on the course was on other European education systems and innovative international perspectives on education related to the demands of modern society as well as the 21st century skills.

European Diversity - Multiculturalism:

The topics of this course were cultural differences, dimensions to classify cultures, basic models of socialization, consequences of cultural differences in education, the relation between beliefs and behavior, and cultural diversity within one society.

European Identity and Cultural Heritage:

The content is about personal, national and European roots and habits.

European Citizenship:

Students gain knowledge about political, economical and idealist motives for European integration.

European Language Competences (English/ Dutch):

The students learn the basics of the Dutch language and improve their English language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking, self-regulated learning, learning strategies/methods).

Research Practical:

This internship at a selected Dutch primary school contains the modules „Project design“, „Appreciative Inquiry“, „Proposal international project“ and „Policy advise primary school“. The students observe different lessons and do some activities with the children. Furthermore, they have to create a project regarding internationalization and at the end of the internship they write a policy advise for this school.

Internationalization at home/ Broaden your horizon:

You and the other students of your class take part in an excursion to Brussels.


In 2015 the university moved from Hengelo to an all-new campus in Enschede. This place offers a lot of high-tech facilities to support the focus on integrating technology in education. The lessons for the TEC program took place in the Edith Stein building, which is next to the main building. The university is located in the city centre of Enschede. In the main building the university offers a print service and a doctor. It is very nice that the university is constructed in a way that students can find enough places to learn, sit and work together.

Contact details:

Telephone number: +31 570 603789

E-mail address: internationaloffice@saxion.nl

Postal mail address:

Saxion University of Applied Sciences 

International Office

P.O. Box 70.000

7500 KB Enschede

the Netherlands

Campus Enschede:

M.H. Tromplaan 28

7513 AB Enschede

Application process:

The application had to be done online. The whole process was a bit complicated, due to the system change of Saxion University. But with the help of the International Office from PHST and Saxion University the registration was no problem after all. However, the people from Saxion University were very attentive and replied quickly on questions and requests.

Arrival & Housing:

The trip to Enschede was quite exciting and my colleges and I were tense if someone from Saxion University was waiting at Enschede train station due that initially nobody replied to our arrival information e-mail. Furthermore we got more stressed after our train had a delay of two hours, but after a short call about our new arrival time they picked us up and brought us to our accommodation.

If you want to safe money, it would be better to search for an accommodation by yourself, because often it is much cheaper than the accommodation Saxion organizes for you. When you are going to search by your own I would recommend to use social media  e.g. a facebook-group („Sise independent: Saxion International Students Enschede“), which offers rooms and flat shares for students. 

The positive factor of choosing a Saxion accommodation is that you do not have any efforts. Actually you pay too much (480 € per month - WLAN included) for that what you get. The flats are not in good conditions and not well-resourced. The first thing we had to do was to clean the entire flat and buy some things like a water boiler.

If you are going to live outside the city center or generally in the Netherlands it is crucial to have a bicycle. Considering that there are no hills within the Netherlands, you can get everywhere very fast and easy, without spending money in public transport.

Spare time:

During my stay I also had enough time for traveling. You can see many interesting cities without passing too much time in the train (Amsterdam, Hamburg, Paris,…) due to the very good public transport system in the Netherlands, but, as you can imagine, you will spend a lot of money.

However, in Enschede you can have a lot of fun too. There are a lot of possibilities for shopping in  amazing stores. So therefore I would recommend do not take too many clothes with you! Furthermore, there are many festivals and parties in Enschede as well, especially on the campus of University Twente. Also every Tuesday and Saturday there is a big open market at the Oude Markt, where you can eat and drink and buy fresh food.

School practical:

The teachers in the schools we visited are focusing on active participated learning. The students learn mostly by their own experience with searching for information autonomously and learning-by-doing. There are many different school types, which are using reform pedagogical concepts like Freinet, Jenaplan,… . Every school has the possibility to define its own curriculum related to these concepts. Everyone in this school system has much freedom for learning, creating and teaching. As a result, all participants feel more responsible of their learning and teaching success, too. The teaching is very open and individual considering the children’s needs.


This semester abroad was a big adventure, a challenge and a professional as well as a personal enrichment. The biggest take away from my Erasmus semester was the improvement of my English language skills. It was great to be a part of an International class. I met so many people from different countries, e.g. Indonesia, Spain, Korea,… and got acquainted to their cultures and behaviors. During some classes we had to form different working groups and as a result I learned so much about other people and also about myself.

During the school excursions and the internship I experienced a lot about the Dutch teaching attitude. The teachers give the children much freedom/space for their own methods and they trust them that they gain the knowledge autonomously. The way of teaching is more child-centred so that the children mostly decide about what they want to learn - they get the opportunity to choose the topics.

I can recommend every student at PHST to study abroad! In fact you do not only learn a lot about other countries and cultures, you also learn much about yourself. You start thinking out of the box and in greater dimensions, you see things from other perspectives what broadens your own horizon. Finally, great things never came from comfort zones!

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