Four AUC students reflect on their experiences of Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School

17 September 2019

During the summer of 2019, AUC students Josephine Geurts, Ruurd Kouwenhoven, Annemijn Ooms and Justin Smael were selected to participate in the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School (NAHSS).

Dutch students study in Asia

Along with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the NAHSS is a joint initiative pioneered by Utrecht University, McKinsey & Company, TU Delft and Akzo Nobel.

It is a programme that gives Dutch-speaking second-year and third-year undergraduate students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a plethora of project-based research in the Asian region. Since 2013, AUC students have been selected to participate in the NAHSS. After having worked on their projects in Asia, all four AUC participants offered to reflect on how they experienced the NAHSS programme. You can get a sense of the projects they worked on and how they spent their summer by reading their responses below. 

Annemijn Ooms

Annemijn Ooms, Hong Kong

I’m Annemijn Ooms, a Social Sciences student in the pre-law and economics tracks at AUC in my second year. I decided to apply to the NAHSS because of the interdisciplinary nature of the programme and for the opportunity to spend my summer developing my skills and knowledge. Moreover, I lived abroad for 12 years growing up and have always wanted to experience the Chinese (business) culture. Luckily, I was selected as one of the 100 students to participate and I was able to go to Hong Kong for six weeks to work on a consultancy project about the Chinese aviation industry for ING. I enjoyed all aspects of the NAHSS programme, from the (teamwork) training and company visits to studying in Hong Kong.

Josephine Geurts

Josephine Geurts, Shenzhen

My name is Josephine Geurts and I'm 22 years old. I am a former Social Sciences student at AUC where I focused mainly on international relations and environmental governance. Through my exchange experience at the University of Hong Kong and my travels through the People’s Republic of China last year, I was already able to get acquainted with Chinese politics, culture and the way of living within these two fascinating worlds. I decided to apply for the NAHSS as I thought it could offer me the opportunity to further explore these parts of the world, and it definitely did! I started to work on an NAHSS project related to sustainable solutions for ‘urban villages’ in Shenzhen for the architectural company Office for Metropolitan Art (OMA). Within a group of seven other Dutch students, I explored these ‘urban villages’ while studying at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Shenzhen.

Justin Smael

Justin Smael, Shenzhen

My name is Justin Smael and I'm a 20-year-old Dutch third-year AUC student focusing on a combination of pre-law and information science tracks. Ever since I participated in an exchange programme with a Chinese High School in my fifth year of high school, I have felt a great interest in further exploring China. When the opportunity of NAHSS showed up on my radar, I immediately felt inclined to apply due to the diversity of the academic, social and business aspects of the programme. After discovering that participating in NAHSS might result in doing a project for the interesting company Huawei, I decided that this was how I wanted to spend my summer. Eventually, I ended up doing a project for Huawei and I can say that NAHSS was a truly a life-changing experience.

Kouwenhoven, Ruurd

Ruurd Kouwenhoven, Chengdu

My name is Ruurd Kouwenhoven. I finished my Bachelor's degree at AUC last summer and was able to spend this summer in Chengdu, China, thoroughly enjoying the NAHSS programme. At AUC, I mostly studied within the law track, with diversions into international relations, environmental science and film studies. In the future, my aim is to be an advisor or legal counsellor on sustainable practices. The NAHSS offered me a great platform to engage with big corporations from the Netherlands operating around the world and across many different fields. This experience highlighted several big challenges for companies in ‘going green’, as well as operating in China and the sometimes questionable politics that severely influence sustainable practices. Due to my studies at AUC, I had a broad lens to apply to my experiences in China, which allowed me to put a lot in perspective and put into practice what I have learned throughout the previous three years.

Published by  Amsterdam University College