Report from the Netherlands: International Staff Training Week at Radboud University

Monday, 02 September 2019

International Staff Training Week (ISTW) at Radboud University in the Netherlands was conducted on May 13-17, 2019. The partnership between the Faculty of Theology of Universitas Kristen Duta wacana (UKDW) and the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies of Radboud University has opened the path for UKDW delegate to join this program. The ISTW offered a chance to boost participants’ knowledge on internationalization issues and for networking with international partners from across the globe. Around 30 participants from different countries attended this program.

Among the participants from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Eastern Europe, USA, Mexico, and Latin America was Gloria Wilhelmina Verdina, a former student in Master of Divinity at UKDW, who started her service as a Research Fellow and International Coordinator of the Faculty of Theology in 2018.

The ISTW was started with the introduction to Radboud University and followed by a workshop on Dutch Living. The topics of ISTW revolved around Internationalization and Sustainability that included comparative study in a group discussion, Erasmus Impact Session to learn about finding grants for funding program with partner university, Communication Challenges, How to Support Research Staff in Finding Funding, Marketing and Recruitment, and Alumni Engagement.

“By taking part in the ISTW, we can learn about our weaknesses, what are needed to be improved, and set the goals for the advancement of our institution,” Gloria said.

Upon completing the ISTW and meeting at Radboud University, she continued her mission with a series of visits to VrijeUniversiteit (VU) Amsterdam, ProtestantseKerk in Nederland (PKN), and Protestant Theological University (PThU) in the Netherlands and VereinteEvangelische Mission (VEM) in Germany. The meetings and visits were conducted from May 18-22, 2019. The purposes of these visits were for strengthening and revitalizing the partnership between the Faculty of Theology of UKDW and its partners in the Netherlands and Germany.

“I fell off of my bike on a street in Amsterdam. It happened in 2016. I was speeding up and there was a little puddle on the street - a tiny one. People gather around and their response surprised me. They were quite enraged and said that it was government’s fault and we need to tell the government about the puddle. This is something that I couldn’t comprehend at that time. We won’t understand this mindset unless we live among these people in their society, in that environment, with their cultures and customs. Only after I lived in Netherland when I continued my study that I understood the reason: they know exactly their job, who is responsible for what, and the high standard must be maintained,” Gloria who joined Intensive Study and Research - Bridging Gap Program at VU Amsterdam for three months in 2016 and took her Master’s degree at PThU (2017-2018), shared her unforgettable experience.

Gloria make a point that there are plenty of opportunities for students who want to taste international experience. “I hope UKDW students, especially Theology students will be more eager to go outside, see the world, and expand their knowledge and outlook to the world. This is essential for their growth as professionals,” she said. [drr]