Webster University: A global education with a worldwide network
Webster University is an American university based in Leiden. Their mission in the Netherlands is to enrich the lives of global citizens by offering a flexible, innovative and practical education in a culturally diverse setting.
The world is steadily becoming one. Increasingly, we share the same challenges and therefore, need to find and share global solutions. But where do we find them?
A global education can teach us how to change the way we think and act through learning about peace, protecting our environment, human rights, respect, cultural diversity, justice and the skills to find solutions to these interconnected challenges of the 21st century.
IamExpat caught up with Chris Osman, head of admissions at Webster University, to find out about his own experience as a foreign student coming to study in the Netherlands and what he thinks about the concept of a Global Education.
What does Global Education mean to you?
Global Education does not just mean studying in a different country but also studying with different groups of people. What I really enjoyed about my time at Webster as a Master’s student is that you studied with people from all over the world. Also, it was important for me to meet local students and Webster had a good mix between local and international in the classroom.
How does Global Education differ from 'normal' education?
I think 'normal' education doesn’t exist anymore. Dutch Universities are going through a huge transition where they are making it even easier for international students to study here.
The number of English speaking programmes are increasing and they are providing strong support to international students in relocating and living here, which frankly, you don’t really get at other European Universities, namely in Germany and France.
I really foresee that in the Netherlands all programmes, both undergraduate and graduate, will be completely in English. Only programmes that do require Dutch, such as your medical and law programmes, will probably be the only ones offered in the local language.
Do you consider yourself a Global Citizen?
I do consider myself a global citizen. It’s interesting because I’ve been living here for about eight years now. I do feel American when I’m here but when I’m back in the States I tend to feel more 'Dutch'.
So really I had to make the decision about my own identity that it’s not about being Dutch or American anymore, it is about being an international. I think 'Global Citizen' is a pretty good term to use. Most of my friends are international and the Dutch friends that I do have are international in some way.
What do you think about Global Citizenship in the 21st century?
I think Global Citizenship in the 21st century is an interesting thing to think about. From an International Relations perspective, Global Citizenship is unfortunately usually something that privileged people who have the 'right' passport can use.
I think this is what makes education very attractive and unique in the Netherlands because it is somewhat affordable for non-EU students (in comparison to the US and the UK) and the Netherlands offers quite a few scholarships and grant opportunities to students in specific countries.
When we talk about Globalisation and Global Citizenship when it comes to immigration policy and education, right now the Netherlands has found a pretty good balance in educating its own citizens and preparing them to become involved in a globalised economy but also offers this to international students as well.
I think a lot of countries can really look at the Netherlands as a good example of the advantages of giving international students access to their education institutions.
Finally, what makes Webster stand out?
Our programmes stand out because, indeed, most of our students are international and if they are Dutch they have an international background. This gives them a really good international / global experience.
Also, because their degrees are offered at other Webster locations in different countries and everyone has to do the same programme, they can easily incorporate study abroad.
We usually reference the fact that we are the most diverse of the Webster campuses. We consider diversity and inclusion to be a core value.
As part of their degree, students are required to complete the Global Citizenship Programme, which ensures that every undergraduate emerges with the core competencies for responsible global citizenship in the 21st century.
For more information, please contact Chris Osman, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment, at [email protected].