I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but since last September, I have been teaching two mornings a week at the Rotterdam Business School, which is itself part of the Hogeschool Rotterdam, a sort of university college. RBS, as it's otherwise known, is where International students are generally enrolled, and 90 percent of these tend to be Chinese. RBS has a reciprocal arrangement with Shanghai University to take students who have done some studying there and give them a European academic education and degree. This kind of programme is driven a little too much by commercial interests for my liking, but I enjoy being there very much because of the students - they are just great and I really like them immensely.
Working with students from such a different culture, language and educational background is also a huge challenge, and I find it endlessly stimulating. It rather puts the teaching of English to European students in the shade as far as the variety, creativity and new approaches that are needed are concerned. Anyhow, once the exams for the year were over and the students had graduated to the next stage, the scramble to look at the new curricula, timetables and division of classes took over and that was much less fun.
There was, however, one very delightful interlude in the midst of all this. I decided to take a group of my students out for a kind of farewell treat, so I arranged with them that we would meet in the harbour and then go across the river to the Hotel New York. This is a famous and rather ornate building where the great America Line ships used to moor up and where throngs of hopefuls would embark on their way to a new life in the US. There we had coffee and pastries and I gave them all a small gift. Then we took the water taxi back over the river and had a nice walk around our harbour where I showed them the Vereeniging and all the other ships lying there.
|Are we having a good time, or what?|
|He's so cool, but then so is she!|
|More happy faces|
|Looking ahead in the Water Taxi|
|What pretty girls, and so very sweet too!|
|View of Rotterda's skyline from the Water Taxi|
It was a happy day. The sun shone warmly for us and my lovely students were all charm and smiles. What a sweet group they have been and what a pleasure to teach. It makes all the administration hassle worth it to know I have somehow been a small part of the academic machine that is helping them on their way.