I visited the Check-IT project in Xiamen during November 6 to 12 in 2015. In total 25 Dutch IT students from 4 different universities of applied sciences in The Netherlands (Arnhem, Rotterdam, Leiden, Den Haag) and 20 IT students from Xiamen University in China as part of their study working together on 12 different projects during a period of 6 months. From Dutch side this Check-IT project was initiated 7 years ago by Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences, the University of Leiden and the University Of Xiamen in China.
The student projects run from September 2015 till half of January 2016 and range from Website Development for a German company active in China, to Design of a Risk Assessment Policy for a Chinese company and Advise on Data Warehouse Management for a Dutch company in China, and so on. Not very different from 3rd or 4th year traineeships in The Netherlands, but in this case working in small groups of Dutch and Chinese students in a unique context of international cooperation and for the Dutch students in a quite different cultural environment.
I met project manager David and visited several times the big working room were most students were working on their projects in mixed groups of 3 to 4 persons. Two groups worked in the companies that defined their projects. The common working rooms were located in one of the buildings of Software Park 2 on the interesting big Xiamen Island. I met several project owners as well, in general directors of the companies for which the projects were carried out. David asked me to do a speech for the Chinese students and a separate presentation for the Dutch students. On my last full day in Xiamen I was member of the lecturer team to attend and judge the intermediate presentations of all 12 projects. An interesting experience, but as such not really different from how this is done in The Netherlands.
During the week I also attended a meeting between a few Dutch and Xiamen University staff members, during which I said that during my 40 years’ experience as a lecturer and professor in HAN University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands I experienced many forms of internationalisation, but these were all individual things. I never experienced such project cooperation between Dutch students and overseas students working together during 6 months and by doing so experiencing real international cooperation. Indeed a unique project that deserves to be continued and extended, in my opinion also with universities in other countries.
Xiamen Island and surroundings give a very good impression of what is going on in China today: a real economic booming region, with, apart from Xiamen University with 3 big campuses, also 3 big software parks with many IT companies. Impressive big and modern buildings, but also enough traditional streets and cultural old buildings left to enjoy, and a marvelous beach.
No need to say that the Dutch students will return to The Netherlands as experienced international IT workers, which in the world of today cannot be overestimated. I wish all higher IT students in The Netherlands such experience!
Retired Professor Innovative Information Systems Development.