HUB 7: Internationalisation

    Internationalisation is an unmistakable part of our strategy.

    Internationalisation triangle

    The university has designed as a tool for degree programmes to commence a discussion about internationalisation: the internationalisation triangle. The triangle is a conceptual framework which has created a common language for Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to clarify internationalisation.

    •   Message Internationalisation RUAS
    •   Interpretation educational programmes
    •   Institutional services RUAS/CoIA

    Message Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

    A high level of diversity is a defining characteristic of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Our task is to implement this diversity, to tap into it, and to challenge everyone to excel within a safe environment. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences educates its diverse student population to enter professional careers that will not necessarily take them to foreign countries but will surely have them working together with people of various cultures in an environment with an international character. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences thus provides an excellent education; education and research is an intrinsic part of the world in which we operate.

    Graduates of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are professionals who can understand and implement the complexity and rapid rate of change in this world. A study programme at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences encourages creativity, resilience and responsibility from its students. Accordingly, these future professionals will apply an international approach to their activities; they will be able to operate in a world without borders and will possess the international competency this requires.

    What is needed for this is determined by each study programme as based on its own career prospects. In this way, study programmes at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences give students an appropriate international and intercultural portfolio, whether they remain in the Netherlands or pursue an international career. From our school, this demands the continuing education of our staff and the strengthening of links between our study programmes and our regional contacts by means of research and partner networks. To achieve this, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has pooled its support specifically aimed at internationalisation into its Centre of International Affairs. This centre works on continuity, collaboration, calibration, expertise, community development, communication and the sharing and celebrating of successes.


    Inclusiveness should be taken to mean the promoting of inclusion: all students and staff members should feel at home and welcome and should know that we have high expectations for them.

    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences offers everyone the best possible development of their talents; we are dedicated to an inclusive classroom and work experience.

    All of our staff members are experienced in conducting a dialogue with students and colleagues about the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. Lecturers also have experience in pedagogy and didactics and are being facilitated in developing an appropriate curriculum and an inclusive learning environment.

    Intercultural competence

    The effective and appropriate behavior and communication in intercultural situations, based on one's intercultural attitudes, knowledge and skills. Effectiveness can be determined by the individual while the appropriateness can only be determined by the other person, as appropriateness is directly related to cultural sensitivity as it is perceived by the other.


    For a university of applied sciences in a city like Rotterdam, super-diversity is simply a fact. Among our student population, all the study programmes involve super-diversity, and for students in many of these study programmes, this development will also be a factor in their future professional field.

    Super-Diversity is a term for a demographic development in which majority populations no longer exist.

    The definition of diversity as used at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences refers not only to cultural diversity but also to its broader meaning (gender, language, potential, age, learning style, etc.)

    This is why our education vision promotes a pedagogical and didactic form of education revolving around inclusiveness, differentiation, interrelationships and active interaction. Our basic principle is equality: we encourage mutual respect and work towards empowerment.

    Professional profile

    The points of departure for the study programmes are their professional context and the challenges faced within this context. The study programmes at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences educate their students to start their careers as junior professionals who can operate as based on an international approach in a world without borders.

    The study programmes provide this education using methods relevant to the study programme in the form of a knowledge or skill-based international orientation to education and in the language relevant to professional practice [e.g. international expertise, internationalisation@home, international experiences (projects, company assignments, etc.), staff and student mobility].

    Professionalisation and international didactics

    Working at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences means working in an intercultural and international education environment. From the staff, this demands international competence and intercultural sensitivity and a willingness to engage in continuing education in these areas.

    International didactics needs staff with a mindset that offers scope and devotes attention to the diversity of learning styles and course offerings since every student should be able to engage in inclusive education, regardless of his or her background.

    International and intercultural portfolio

    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences students are challenged to build their personal intercultural portfolio during their study programme. This portfolio focuses on intercultural experiences and reflection: acquiring behaviours and skills to function effectively within an international context and a specific professional context. Each study programme defines an international portfolio in accordance with its study programme and professional practice and makes use of the students’ and staff’s own diversity.

    21st-century skills

    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences readies students for a changing international society in which they can anticipate operating progressively, appropriately, and within various contexts.Twenty-first-century skills are generic skills (or competencies) that can be related to the expertise, insight and attitude needed to function in society and contribute to it. With its various study programmes, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences develops a challenging curriculum that not only prepares students for their professional context but also enables them to function in an ever-changing world and helps them shape the society of the future.

    Research and partner networks

    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is dedicated to research, education and a relationship with the private and public sectors that have an international dimension. This means that education (study programmes) and research (knowledge centres and professorships) should work together with the professional fields to address the international dynamics of the profession and/or incorporate them in their shared research. These partners (public and private) can then facilitate or stimulate the articulation of the question to be answered by research in which Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences would always focus on the impact of our research for the benefit of education and the work field (continual education and the circulation of knowledge).


    Insecurity, complexity and ambiguity are key issues in our current changing world. Continuity now involves retaining a sensitivity to the inner and outer worlds, the courage to experiment, learning from both failures and successes, and being able to respond quickly to developments and opportunities. Success in this depends on the degree to which the organisation and its employees learn from the past and dare to take risks. We will also ensure that every study programme has the scope to operate in this way when it comes to internationalisation.

    The study programme formulates a shared vision and ambition for the intercultural and international development of students. The teams then develop these goals into their curricula.

    For the school or domain, this way of working means that the interpretation of the visions formulated by the various study programmes will be explicitly addressed in documents such as the strategic plan, the education vision, the professional profile and the continuing education policy.

    As a university of applied sciences, we have a clear concept that both reflects diversity and communicates what unites us.


    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences moulds its quality assurance according to its international and intercultural orientation to education by means of regularly scheduled coordination and calibration.

    CoIA supports study programmes in this calibration (the coordination of expectations, processes and stakeholders). The purpose of this is to allow all the parties to use the same informed frame of reference to strive for a simple method of monitoring, assessing (PDCA cycle) and meeting international benchmarks.


    Study programmes are devoted to establishing as many relationships and collaborations as possible. Study programmes and institutes develop international curricula in cooperation with internal and external partners and organisations in the international professional field. In this way they create connections with the field and commitment to long-term collaboration. This can involve programme-building and development, continuing education (for internationalisation), international minors and projects. CoIA facilitates study programmes in this by providing suggestions for collaboration with internal and external partners, other study programmes, knowledge centres, CoEs.

    Information (centre)

    The Centre of International Affairs (CoIA) acts as a centre of expertise in the area of internationalisation. It integrates knowledge, information and expertise by maintaining connections with all the various divisions within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. It serves as a gateway for colleagues who have questions about one of the aspects of internationalisation and as a contact point where external parties can request referrals to the appropriate persons.

    CoIA supports and stimulates the process of internationalisation within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences at the operational, tactical and strategic levels. We do this by organising connections to developments within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, drawing up policy, and making decisions after consulting with all the parties involved and people with expertise in the subject.

    CoIA actively shares information about internationalisation in higher education, a shared quality framework and options for mobility. In these efforts, CoIA works with the Internationalisation Professorship and the knowledge centres so that colleagues can make effective use of knowledge about and research into internationalisation in higher education and can participate in it.

    CoIA also stimulates an exchange of knowledge and experience possessed by colleagues in knowledge platforms at the operational, tactical and strategic levels. Their own input is the focus here; subjects include international initiatives, projects and strategic collaborations.


    A community accelerates continuing education and the sharing of knowledge. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is committed to establishing a Community of Practice for internationalisation that would incorporate expertise and experience related to the international and intercultural orientation to education generated by study programmes, knowledge centres, CoIA and services. This CoP would run horizontally throughout the organisation and cooperate actively with CoPs addressing related subjects within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.


    Study programmes communicate with all the partners about their international activities. Internally, this is done to encourage an internal sharing of knowledge and to work more efficiently; externally, it increases the name recognition of the study programmes and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences as a knowledge institution. Improved branding will improve quality and increase intake.


    Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences supports and stimulates initiatives and projects aimed at a trans/multidisciplinary approach with regard to diversity. Study programmes can make use of experts and coordinators from institutes and knowledge centres for intra- domain projects and programmes. When projects and programmes can be incorporated in subsidy applications and grants, study programmes can use the services of the grants officer (CoIA). With the project leader inside the study programme being knowledgable about the content of these applications and the grants officer experienced with the application procedures, they should be able to arrive at an inspiring and persuasive application. In this way, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences facilitates external financing from its partner networks and other organisations involved in projects.

    In this video you'll see the results of the efforts of the programmes in 2018, participating in the WERKplaats Internationalisering.

    Watch the video to see how Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences organises their internationalisation: