The International Classroom brings students from different cultures together

marjo blok.jpg

Since 2019, students from the Dutch- and English-taught Physiotherapy programme have been taking the Living Anatomy course together in the International Classroom. Pairs of students from dozens of different countries are gathered around ten treatment tables. They not only learn where all the muscles, joints and nerves are, but also learn about each other's cultures and broaden their outlook. Teachers Marjo Blok and Jesús Díaz Merino talk about this beautiful project, which teaches students to look beyond their own context.

A colourful map full of push pins

Marjo talks about the start of the International Classroom: 'Before this project started, the Dutch-taught and English-taught versions of the Physiotherapy programme existed side by side. So there was little interaction between students of both programmes. The international group of the English-taught programme found it in particular difficult to integrate. Jesús Diaz can confirm this as a former international student of the programmme: 'I myself missed the contact with the Dutch students very much.'

This project offers more interaction between the students. A colourful map full of push pins shows where all the students are from. All these different cultural backgrounds make for an inspiring and fun learning environment, according to Marjo and Jesús. ‘This is very different from being taught about cultural differences. In the International Classroom, you experience that for yourself.‘

Looking beyond your own context

Apart from learning all the important anatomy terms in English, as a student during the International Classroom you also develop a broader view. You learn about different bodies, different food patterns, different sports. But also different kinds of humour, ways of explaining and different healthcare systems. You learn from other cultures and you learn to speak each other's language better. Students and teachers are very enthusiastic about the International Classroom. ‘Being in contact with such a diverse group and working on the material together makes anatomy lessons much more challenging and interesting. And it sometimes results in a nice friendship or a nice vacation address.’

Fields of interest

  • Sports and Health