Wittenborg is proud of its international status, and its students and staff currently represent at least 40 nationalities (see list right), and the international atmosphere is apparent from the moment you enter the school. At Wittenborg, students and staff work, study and socialize in English, both inside and outside the campus. English is spoken at all times, and all documentation, processes and procedures are in English.
The Netherlands has built a strong tradition to welcome international student to its higher education institutions, on Bachelor and Master programmes taught in English, however, achieving a true international classroom is for many Dutch Universities and Hogescholen a struggle, as often issues such as segregation and the relatively difficult task of getting a predominantly Dutch speaking organization to fully operate in English create barriers to achieving the multinational and multilingual environment in a concentrated form that will lead to a true international classroom. Often, language forms the greatest barrier, with groups of students often speaking only their own language as much as possible, and not integrating with others. The University of Leiden, for instance, advises its teachers to “speak English at all times”, and to encourage students in the classroom to participate in discussion.
Even having hundreds of international students at a campus, does not automatically lead to the experience of an international classroom, with groups of students from one or two particular countries forming national groups in which they study, communicate and socialize.
At Wittenborg, with its small size and striking international mix, achieving a true international and intercultural environment depends on the ambition and drive of students and teachers from different nationalities and backgrounds to interact communicate and work together in a productive way. Wittenborg’s true international roots lie in the multinational and multi-cultural characteristics at all levels in the organization, from students to teachers, from service staff to management.