Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. For the Netherlands – an open and export-oriented economy – the continent is of vital importance; Dutch export to Asia rose significantly over the last few years. However, as a result of limited international mobility of Dutch students (i.e. only 0.10% of the Dutch students study in Asia), Dutch students have limited knowledge of and experience with the Asian cultures and the Asian business network. To prepare Dutch talent for the international labour market and the ever-growing demand of knowledge of the Asian cultures, it is important that Dutch talent is offered an opportunity to experience Asia. The Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School (NAHSS) enables them to experience Asia and by doing so, this generation can further strengthen the bilateral relationship.
Because of this, the NAHSS was initiated by Utrecht University, Delft University, McKinsey & Company and AkzoNobel in 2012. Nowadays, the initiative is supported by all Dutch research universities, four Dutch ministries, and many leading Dutch and Asian multinational companies. Because of this distinctive triple helix network, the NAHSS invests in the future of excellent Dutch students by offering and stimulating an Asia-oriented experience.
Ever since the founding in 2012, the NAHSS actively focuses on carrying out the importance of Asia-related knowledge and experiences. Educating and motivating students, exchange of knowledge, improving the relations between Asia and the Netherlands and creating awareness of the (future) importance of the continent are among the goals of the NAHSS. Working on a bilateral network and understanding of both Dutch and Asian students, companies, universities and government agencies is key in this.
The NAHSS aims to do so, initially by organizing a national honours program for excellent Dutch undergraduate students of all Dutch research universities and disciplines. This program offers these students the unique possibility to experience Asia during a summer program containing academic, business and cultural aspects. This initiative enables the participants to become fully aware of and able to capture the opportunities that arise on the Asian continent for the Netherlands. Not only aims the NAHSS to underline the importance of Asia for the Netherlands, but hopes to further stimulate and influence the (academic) careers of these students in a Asia-oriented manner.
Besides the summer program for bachelor students, the NAHSS is responsible for organizing an increasing number of initiatives intended to familiarize Dutch students with Asia. Informing students about and promoting the possibilities to study in Asia and Asia-related studies offered by Dutch research universities are examples of these initiatives. Moreover, the organization of the NAHSS actively commits to creating and maintaining an active network of organizations, students and professionals in which the relation with and importance of Asia to the Netherlands is the starting point. Therefor, the NAHSS regularly organizes, attends and presents at various networking events to gather together, maintain and extend the unique triple helix network with universities, governmental bodies and the business community. Because of this unique network composition the importance of Asia is optimally stressed among all interested parties. Lastly, the NAHSS actively seeks to establish a network of students, who have already had an experience in Asia, whereby sharing of knowledge and experiences is key.
Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School for bachelor students
The yearly summer program organized by the NAHSS offers a group of talented multidisciplinary undergraduate students the chance to become fully aware of and able to capture the opportunities that arise on the Asian continent for the Netherlands. The summer program consist of the following three components:
- Academic program; our students participate in an international summer school at an outstanding Asian university in Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong or Taipei for five weeks.
- Business program; they visit multinational corporations in both the Netherlands and Asia. Next to that, the participants conduct research and work on a project for one of our appreciated partners.
- Cultural program; the NAHSS offers a Chinese language and culture course during the preparatory trail in the Netherlands. Besides that, the so-called buddy program links our students one-on-one to an Asian student for cultural insights and excursions during their stay in Asia.
The business and cultural week in Shanghai (the final week of the NAHSS program in Asia) combines these three factors by facilitating our students to work on their project and academically structure their research, visiting Asian and Dutch companies and organizing cultural excursions. Next to that, all participants gather together in Shanghai this week, which stimulates them to exchange their experiences among each other to complete their Asia-experience.