Two students from TU Delft get a crash course in what makes China a force to reckon with.
This summer, 30 students from across the Netherlands, travelled to China for the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School 2012. An exchange programme initiated by various governmental ministries, multinational companies and Dutch universities, it aimed at strengthening academic and business ties between the two nations. Selected students attended five-week long summer school courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and interacted with business big wigs during their stay. Two of the students selected from close to 180 applicants were TU Delft BSc students Stéphane Jager (21) and Adriaan Bovendeert (21).
“The Netherlands is an important business partner for various Asian countries, but not enough students travel to Asia. The Summer School was an attempt to understand how to change this. During our stay there, besides the academic courses we took, we had to solve a case study on how we could create more interest in Asia among Dutch students,” says Bovendeert, a third-year Industrial Design Engineering BSc student.
Getting selected for the programme was no piece of cake. “We first had to submit our resumes, a motivation letter and our grades. After that there was a pre-selection round by each university and a final selection committee with representatives from Utrecht University, TU Delft, SER, AkzoNobel and McKinsey. Only two or three students per university were selected,” says Jager, a third year BSc Mechanical Engineering student.
Being in China was more of a learning experience than they could have imagined. Besides classes, they had business meetings with representatives of companies with European interests. “To have that kind of interaction with China, as a place and a business hub, in such a short time would have been impossible under any other circumstances,” says Jager, adding that “it gave us new insights into how China has grown from being a developing Communist state into one of the strongest economies in the world. In fact, the IMF predicts that by 2016 China will be the biggest economy in the world.”
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