The Fulbright Center and Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) have joined forces. In the coming academic year, BUas will receive fourteen American teaching assistants from Fulbright to carry out research assignments in the context of the English Teaching Assistant Program. They will work on research within the theme of internationalisation.

How can BUas give further shape to the international campus? And how do you make sure that an international classroom is diverse and inclusive? “That’s easier said than done,” Elisabeth Minnemann knows. Another subject involves learning in ‘learning communities’. BUas is committed to offering state-of-the-art education in an international context. The university of applied sciences wants to prepare students as well as possible for the international employment market. “The cooperation with Fulbright fits right into this.” Elisabeth Minnemann, president of the BUas Executive Board, and Mattie Bekink, executive director of the Fulbright Center in the Netherlands, signed the cooperation agreement on Tuesday 7 May.

English Teaching Assistant Program

For the duration of an entire academic year, the teaching assistants will work 24 hours a week as English teachers at secondary schools in the Netherlands. In addition, they will regularly be in Breda to work on their research assignments. In this process, they will be supervised by BUas. Moreover, the institute itself will host one teaching assistant. The institute will assign this assistant to perform tasks at as many as possible academies, depending on the specific needs.

Fulbright

The Fulbright Program was founded in 1946 by the American senator William J. Fulbright to increase mutual understanding between American citizens and citizens of other countries. The program is aimed at improving intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy and cultural competences through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. It is one of the most prestigious and competitive cooperation programmes in the world.

International Scholarship Program 

Fulbright has been running its English Teaching Assistant Program in the Netherlands for three years now. Bekink: “We are pleased to continue this programme in cooperation with BUas. This is the only international scholarship program for teaching assistants which also involves research. That is what makes it so special. What’s also special about it, is that the students who come to the Netherlands through the program do not only bring in knowledge and skills, but also increase mutual understanding. They touch so many lives: in schools, at BUas and in their own social circle. They become part of a community. I am absolutely sure that the participants are as enthusiastic as I am.”

International cooperation

Why is international cooperation so important? “It is on the global agenda,” Minnemann explains. “The English language is an important condition in this respect. It allows us to communicate with each other. Simon Kuper, journalist of the Financial Times recently wrote in his column that the Netherlands is the best place to build a life in English. That’s what we want to contribute to.”

Taking a step together

The participating teaching assistants have been selected from a large group of applicants by the

Institute of International Education in New York on the basis of motivation, knowledge and experience, academic results, and possible teaching experience. Various BUas employees are involved. The SER International department is coordinating the project in cooperation with researchers and lecturers Nicoline de Heus and Anna Voinova. English lecturers Antoon Ceuleers and Suzanne Vollenbronck will supervise the teaching assistants who are coming to Breda. Minnemann: “We are looking forward to the results. I am happy that we are taking this step together with Fulbright.” The kick-off of the project is planned for 6 September.