Canadian students look back on a pleasant cooperation with Artevelde University College

Our students of the Bachelor of Communication Management are currently very busy hitting the books. Just before the start of the exam period, however, they spent most of their time in front of their computers to Skype with their fellow Canadian students because they had to work together across the globe for the subject Internal Communication.

Is it possible to organise a group assignment across borders? That's what Els Van Betsbrugge and Holly Cybulski asked themselves. They are both lecturers of the Communication Management programme, at Artevelde University College and Seneca College in Toronto respectively. They challenged their students to analyse the internal communication of a company which is active in both Belgium and Canada.

The students were grouped in teams of five. Each Belgian team was linked to a Canadian team. Together, they focused on the internal communication of their company, in both countries. They made connections, noticed similarities, but also saw a lot of differences, not only in the communication strategy of the company they analysed, but also in their own way of working! "North American culture is very 'go go go', fast-paced and non-stop. It was innovative to discover that European culture is much more relaxed," says Canadian student Jeremy Houston.

"That is one of the advantages of international cooperation," says Els Van Betsbrugge. "Students learn to take into account cultural differences, different insights and a different approach, they are forced to make proper arrangements to bridge time differences... We also see that they are more committed because they don't want to lose face in the eyes of their international fellow students."

This is the first time that students from Artevelde University College and Seneca College work so closely together, but certainly not the last. In March, a delegation from our university college participated in a state visit to Canada. Of course, a visit to Seneca College was also on the programme, and it was then that plans were made to implement this way of working in other subjects as well. To be continued, no doubt!