Catching up with Bert Meeuwsen: When staying at home leads to getting a new home

My wife's support has been crucial during these strange times

Bert Meeuwsen is a lecturer as well as advisor to the executive board of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. Apart from keeping up with his tasks as a Wittenborg staff member and his private executive coaching, he has also undertaken the task of renovating the new home that he and his wife recently purchased.

What helps you to stay positive?

My lovely wife Jet. Just like me, she is working from home. For several years, we have shared a nice working area. When I teach my classes, she supports me by working somewhere else in our home office. And when she is busy, I work elsewhere in the house. In this friendly manner we do not disturb each other and each of our businesses run smoothly.

How are you spending your free time in quarantine?

I am studying my PhD research, reading books (fiction, faction and scientific), giving attention to our three 'young-timer' cars, preparing removal to and reconstruction of our very near future (new, 1994) split-level bungalow, as well as 'doing nothing', i.e. relaxing, and sometimes meeting family while keeping the 1.5-metre distance.

Have you developed any new hobbies during the quarantine time?

Due to the increase of activities within my wife’s bookbinding and book renovation practice, my wife and I decided to move to another village. In our 1994 split-level bungalow we have more space for her practice. To cater to this opportunity, a 21m3 separate workshop has been created. This renovation has led to us altering part of the house into lodging facilities for family from abroad as we often have international guests. In addition, one and a half years ago we took over the care of a unique 'young timer' (a 1994 scarlet red Peugeot 205 Cabriolet) after a friend passed away. Some modifications have been made, including a new roof, and towing facilities. During the renovation of and moving to our new house, this car has been very handy and at the same time rather cute.

What are some changes you have had to make to your home life to accommodate working from home?

I had to upgrade my internet connection.

What do you like most about online learning/teaching?

Online learning is an aspect of blended learning. The combination of being able to virtually meet each other with the presence of educational didactic tools continues educators' assistance of students in their self-development.

What do you like least about online learning/teaching?

The personal contact in classrooms is missing. As non-verbal and verbal communication are absent, other tools must take over. To a high extent this is possible. Still, meeting each other in real life is an asset currently inaccessible.

What is something you now realise that you took for granted before the COVID-19 pandemic?

The day-to-day contacts, meeting people, working together and freely going around.

WUP 6/6/2020
by Olivia Kawuma
©Wittenborg University Press