The real part of the story is that the NAHSS gives you a true peek in today’s Chinese society.
The Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School (NAHSS) offered me a tremendous opportunity. With a group of seventy-five very talented students from all over the Netherlands, I was to spend the summer in Asia. The program is supported by several ministries, all Dutch research universities as well as some important Dutch multinationals.
Being selected, I noticed how diverse and interesting my fellow students were. With fifteen other students, I wrote an in-depth article for the Dutch Financial Times – published with a cover photo of the fifteen of us. Along the way, we interviewed many important people in both the Netherlands and China and learned much about Asian societal trends. Other groups looked into introducing a sustainability program in Hong Kong or did various projects for the participating companies. While in Asia – in my case Hong Kong – we took part in a summer school, enabling us to not only meet Chinese students, but students from around the world.
So far for the formal part. Yes, there were many truly amazing company visits. Of course, the projects were both challenging and interesting and sure, the summer school courses were insightful. But that is only part of the story. The real part of the story is that the NAHSS gives you a true peek in today’s Chinese society. It allows you to take part in everyday Chinese life; it gives you the opportunity to make Chinese (and international) friends for life; it lets you explore various places in Asia; it helps you understand what it means, when there is talk about ‘the re-birth’ or ‘the rise’ of China.
I myself was based in Hong Kong, one of the most fascinating cities on the planet. But I also got to see Shanghai – one of the biggest cities in the world, growing at an enormous pace; Chengdu – a huge city that hardly anyone in Europe knows about; and part of the Philippines – not even a two hours flight from Hong Kong, but so different that it is beyond imagination.
I know it is terribly cliché to say that trips are life changing experiences. Nonetheless, that definitely applies to the NAHSS. If you do not believe me, go see it for yourself!