Breda, day 1: hello and hospitality.

It???s only a few days since Daniel Turner posted from America about his experiences at a US college, with reflections on the disparity of resources and opportunities open to students on campuses countries. I now have the opportunity to match that after dining at a student-run restaurant in the Netherlands: I was very well looked after.

I???m spending three days in Breda, in the southern Netherlands, as part of a joint project to bring some students to Edinburgh (as flagged in an earlier post). The flight over was very early this morning [last Tuesday], so I???ll keep this post short as I begin to flag, but the connections were all efficient. It???s great to be back in Breda, replicating last year???s visit in the inaugural running on this project. The centre of the city is beautiful, full of history and character.

Dinner was at the university’s very attractive Institute of Hotel and Facilities Management: photos are below, I love a nice neat clean line in my architecture and interior decor. Our visit coincided with assessments for the students, but I got the impression that a tour of the venue and the kitchens is all part of the usual experience. The students are clearly very proud of working in some great spaces, which encourage them to put on events and develop their skills. First year students must complete 80 hours work here in order to progress in their courses, from cooking to waiting to barista work and whatever else needs done. Second year students meanwhile take on many of the planning and development roles (including devising menus, etc.). It???s an impressive outfit in one of Breda???s nicest suburbs; it certainly doesn???t look out of place.

I am therefore envious of the investment that has gone into these resources. It would interesting to see how the addition of such facilities would enhance the student experience at Edinburgh Napier, but perhaps there???s also a need to make better use of the resources that the university already has, but are not put to educational use.

The earlier part of the day saw me deliver an introductory lecture for the students due to come to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. I employed my usual mix of pictures, unnecessary animations and bullet points to put my points across. It???s a good sign that there were questions at the end: I look forward to following up on similar themes in tomorrow???s class discussion sessions.

Meanwhile, I hope I get more than three and a half hours sleep tonight: I???m not conditioned for such early flights just at the moment.

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One thought on “Breda, day 1: hello and hospitality.

  1. Anonymous

    Sounds like your experiences and envy were similar to my own. Like you I think the answer isn’t in ‘new’ resources (which just aren’t feasible in the current climate) but rather using existing ones more efficiently. However, rather than using internal resources which still have a feeling of being a false environment and a ‘safety net’, it’s better to try and get the students out into industry as soon as possible. Portfolio learning can be used to get the broad practical skills and then organising events within friendly venues but in a ‘real’ environment allows more detailed and realistic learning. I’m currently looking at how to do that here after my trip abroad. We should catch up over the summer and compare notes more fully – see what we can share!

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