Intellectual Exchange

Quality education has never been more accessible. Especially at TU Delft. As thousands of students register this month for the first-ever moocs offered by the university, we take a look at all the other ways in which TU is reaching out to students around the world.

Besides the roughly 1,000 international students who enrol each year, the university has hundreds of short-term students on campus every semester. These are exchange students who are here as part of educational programmes and bilateral agreements among universities.

TU Delft is part of education networks such as the 3TU Federation, Idea League and the European Leuven network and also has bilateral agreements with universities across the world. Exchange programmes are so popular that the process has been largely decentralised. “When it comes to exchange among European universities, faculties can choose which university to partner with and how many students to exchange. They can then set up agreements and guidelines accordingly. If it’s an international agreement then of course the central office is involved in setting up guidelines and partnerships,” explains Toke Hoek, the International Officer of the TPM faculty.

TPM host an average of 30-35 exchange students per year. The numbers at the bigger faculties on campus are much larger. “Last year we received 55 incoming students and sent 72 abroad,” says Janneke Arkesteijn, International Officer of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

“TU Delft has always promoted internationalisation and we believe that the university has a lot to gain from intellectual exchange with world class universities,” says Hoek, explaining that such partnerships also give the university a stronger global standing. “Besides a growing number of European students, in the past couple of years we’ve also noticed an increase in exchange students from China as well,” she adds.

Arkesteijn adds that “Students get to broaden their horizons and develop themselves. Working with students in other cultures, they also learn that there are different methods even in industrial design engineering. These experiences prepare them for a future international working environment.”

For exchange students, the benefits definitely seem worth the short term displacement.

Sae Saem Han, from Kaist University in South Korea, arrived in the Netherlands in February for a semester in Systems Engineering, Policy and Management. It’s been a fun ride but a steep learning curve. “Classes are structured very differently. Here there is a lot of emphasis on group studies, we even work on Matlab in groups!” she says, explaining that her academic group in class soon became her friends as well. “Making friends was not tough at all,” she recounts.

Jisu Kim, an architecture student from the Seoul National University, says TU’s architecture course is considered among the best, so she was keen on a stint here. “One big academic difference is that each course here is just 7-8 weeks long, whereas at SMU they are 14 weeks long. Initially I was sceptical about what I could learn in 7 weeks, but now I know that I’ve learnt a lot!”

Saem, who says she would love to come back and study here, has just one suggestion. “Because exchange students are here for such a short time, it would be nice if we could meet our coordinators more often. This will help us make the most of time here, get a better idea of  courses we can take, what books to read and events to attend.”

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