Students From the Netherlands Visit Cornerstone University
by Jordan Grooters (B.A. ’17)
In early January, a group of students and a professor from Christelijke Hogeschool Ede (Ede Christian University) in the Netherlands visited Cornerstone University for 10 days as a part of a study abroad trip. This visit is part of a reciprocal partnership that Cornerstone has with CHE which allows students from both universities to experience the other country's culture during J-term. The students, who have a range of majors including business, communications, social work, human resource management and occupational therapy, studied American culture and explored some of their preconceived notions about American culture, people and business.
During their time in Grand Rapids, the international students lived in university dorms and spent time with CU students, faculty and staff. Their stay, organized by Cornerstone's Business Division, included tours of various local businesses, nonprofit organizations and museums in the West Michigan and Detroit area. They visited organizations such as Our Daily Bread Ministries, Dégagé Ministries, WOOD TV8 and Steelcase and enjoyed tourist attractions such as Frederik Meijer Gardens, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Henry Ford Museum and Rouge Factory in Detroit. They also participated in activities such as attending a Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game at Van Andel Arena, ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle and spending the day with host families on Sunday.
April VanPutten, assistant professor of business, shared her enthusiasm for the partnership.
"The most exciting part was meeting the students and seeing their curiosity about our culture," VanPutten said. "It was fun to interact with them informally at meals and in casual conversations."
Dr. Rachel Hammond, chair of the Business Division also shared her joy in seeing this partnership thrive.
"With the university's partnership with Christelijke Hogeschool Ede, students from both schools are able to build relationships, demonstrate hospitality and develop crucial intercultural communication skills," Hammond reflected. "It has led to a greater understanding of each other's culture and immersive learning experiences."
Cornerstone business student Mikayla Walker (B.S. ’20) was instrumental in planning this year's trip.
"It has been exciting to see how Cornerstone compares to CHE and how the programs that we do are very similar in nature," Walker said. "Throughout the world, we all have businesses and museums and special attractions that draw people in and to still have that different cultural aspect is what intrigues me. When planning the activities for the students, I compared what I planned to the activities I participated in when I visited their school last year."
From chatting with a student from the Netherlands on our campus to spending a semester abroad, CU business students have lots of cultural engagement opportunities available. To learn more, see information on Cornerstone's off-campus study programs and international partnerships.