In 2012, it was the first time the NAHSS sent a group of students to Asia. The mission of the NAHSS is to create a future where students are fully aware of and able to capture the opportunities that arise on the Asian continent by significantly increasing the exposure of Dutch students to Asia today. Hence, in order to reach this goal, the first delegates were asked into the possibilities of reaching this goal. As such, in 2012, the 30 first NAHSS delegates were asked to answer the following question: “How can we maximize the exposure of Dutch students to China and how can the NAHSS optimally contribute to this?”
The group was divided into smaller groups so each group could focus on one element of the research question:
- Group Yellow, worked on ”how can we increase the interest among Dutch students to gain experience in China – and what can NAHSS contribute to this?”
- Group Blue, worked on “how can we create more opportunities and remove hurdles for gaining experience in China – and what can NAHSS contribute to this?”
- Group Orange, worked on “how can we make the experience in China richer and more fruitful – and how can NAHSS contribute to this?”
- Group Green, worked on “how should the experience in China be followed up to ensure a lasting impact for the student – and how can NAHSS contribute to this?”
- Group Red, worked on “how can we optimally organize and finance the NAHSS to support initiatives to maximize the exposure of Dutch students?
The NAHSS delegates did find that Dutch students are interested in studying abroad. However, most Dutch students simply do not consider China an option, which is a direct result of the lack of information on studying and living in China. Providing better information makes it reasonable to assume that more students will consider going to China. A subset of this group will, in the end, actually go.
The four steps to an actual exchange are: 1) awareness; 2) interest; 3) intention; 4) exchange. The underlying logic here is that a larger group of ‘awareness’ will result in a larger ‘exchange’ group.
There is, however, another problem: there is no central coordination of exchanges with China, resulting in inefficiencies. E.g. one university may have exchange spots left, whereas another university lacks spots to send students on exchange.
The solution to aforementioned problems is a central organization that coordinates studying and working in China and provides relevant information: an online portal.