Dr. Nichols is finishing his trip to Europe during which he has been building partnerships for the International Education program at Vol State. Here are the final installments of his blog:
Chris and I were invited to spend two days with Anita and Nicco at their home in Gairle, which is near Tilburg. They picked us up at our hotel in Amsterdam and then off to their home. En route we saw the beach, windmills, and other items of interest.
While somewhat out of the way, they also drove us through the city of Hague, where we saw the various embassies and political offices.
Monday morning I went by train to meet with Johan Neijenhuis, the International Coordinator for Health Care at ROC Nijegen. Good meeting and opportunities for partnerships in the future.
Then back on the train to Den Bosch (Hertogenbosch) to meet with Peter van Amelsfoot, Director of the Center for International Projects for all the ROC's. ROC stands for Regional Educational Colleges, similar to our Tennessee Board of Regents. I had a tour of the Koning Willem I campus and there are many opportunities for exchanges in the future. Peter is directly responsible for coordinating and facilitating the faculty exchanges for all the ROC's. He is also very interested in staff exchanges as well as faculty and students.
On our last night with Anita and Nicco, we ate dinner at their home and went out to see more of the country (this starting around 9:00 p.m. Since it was still daylight, no problem). Since they only live approximately six miles from Belgium, they drove us through a few of the villages. I must say that the homes in Belgium looked very large in comparison with those we have seen in Ireland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Then off for "coffee and tea" at a local establishment and home by 12:30.
Tuesday, back on the train for appointments with President Leonard Geluk and International Coordinator Norbert in Utrecht. Our host was Marjan Wormer, one of the faculty who visited our campus in 2009. Then back on the train to Zwolle where we spent the night at Hotel Fidder Zwolle.
Wednesday morning, and arrangements have been made for Ina Jolman, another faculty member who visited us in 2009, to pick us up at the hotel and then give us a tour of her college, Deltion College, and then a tour of the city.
Had a very nice and informative tour of Deltion College in Zwolle. Marjan Wormer and her colleagues also gave us a walking tour of the inner city, which was first populated during the Stone Age.
Lunch was at the college and was prepared and served by the students in their Hospitality and Restaurant Program.
More tours and then we met the President and other colleagues for a four course dinner at the campus restaurant. It was very well done and with the typical Dutch hospitality. The dinner began around 6 and we left the restaurant around 9.
Finally returned to the hotel to pack for our early morning train ride to the airport. We have had a great time, have created some wonderful contacts and looking forward to receiving these European colleagues to our campus in the future. But after 19 days and three countries (four if you include the 30 minutes we were in Belgium) it is time to come home.