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From Netherlands to America: One educator’s experience at ECC

Dr.+Dawn+Munson+%28left%29+and+Samantha+Krukkert+%28Right%29
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From Netherlands to America: One educator’s experience at ECC

Dr. Dawn Munson (left) and Samantha Krukkert (Right)

Dr. Dawn Munson (left) and Samantha Krukkert (Right)

Dr. Dawn Munson (left) and Samantha Krukkert (Right)

Dr. Dawn Munson (left) and Samantha Krukkert (Right)

Devin Wright, Staff Writer

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with visiting professor Samantha Krukkert. She teaches early childhood pedagogy at ROC van Twente College in the Netherlands, and this was her first time visiting the United States.

Krukkert came to Elgin Community College on Oct. 15, to speak about the Dutch school system and how it compares to the current college system in the U.S. The following summarizes the fascinating conversation I had with her.

When it comes to first impressions, there were definitely some things that Krukkert did and did not like about American colleges. She really liked how the students here can freely change the direction of their education after enrolling in college. Whereas students in the Netherlands are completely locked into what they’ve originally chosen. She also explained that freshman students overseas are typically 16 to 17 years old.

However, Krukkert did say that when it comes to promoting a healthier lifestyle, the Netherlands has us beat. European colleges actually charge more for junk food than the healthier alternatives. On top of that, the students and faculty at Krukkert’s college are allowed longer breaks and are encouraged to take walks around campus or ride their bikes.

Krukkert has been visiting other countries ever since she started college at 17 years old. Since then, she’s been traveling for over 10 years, and recently joined the Illinois Consortium Exchange Program, which allowed her to come and visit America and ECC for the first time. Although her degree did not require traveling to this extent, Krukkert persisted, paying mainly out-of-pocket. She explained how much she loved learning from other cultures and how she wanted to receive a more well-rounded perspective on how other colleges handle the education of their students.

“I really like to see how other countries deal with situations, like how [teachers] challenge their students,” Krukkert said. “I want to bring back what I’ve learned to my own college.”

An example of this is the encouragement and application of student ideas around ECC. Krukkert was ecstatic at how the college enables student creativity through clubs, student government and even this newspaper. She experienced this first hand while sitting in on a group of students who were coming up with fun ways to reduce stress during finals week.

Overall, Samantha Krukkert has really enjoyed her first trip to America. She’s received a warm welcome throughout her stay and has learned a lot about our uniqueness on campus. She looks forward to sharing her observations with her counterparts and establishing some of our practices at her college in the Netherlands.

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