Participants Develop Advisory Reports for Famous Apeldoorn Zoo
In partnership with Apenheul Primate Park, Wittenborg organised a project week for 130 bachelor’s students between 30 May and 3 June. The activity’s goal was to provide the famous Apeldoorn zoo with advisory reports on the latest changes in consumer behaviour, also detailing how to effectively serve consumers in the current scenario.
Having been divided into groups of five or six, students were required to act as consultants, defining the key issues related to Apenheul’s challenges, offering accurate analyses through facts and figures and presenting an array of diverse recommendations and long-term solutions.
The initiative included an excursion to the zoo on 31 May, which in addition to familiarising students with the organisation was also a fun-filled way to encourage them to reflect on topics such as sustainability, tourism and animal conservation. At the end of the project week, all groups were required to deliver a consultancy report and a video presentation, and each student was tasked with submitting a group evaluation and self-assessment.
Upinderjeet Kaur, who is pursuing an HBA degree in Tourism Management, said that this was his first visit to Apenheul Primate Park, describing it as an immersive and memorable experience. “I felt that this project week was really unique, and I was able to have fun and learn a lot by taking part in it. There are a number of elements within Apenheul that make the visitors’ experience fun and enjoyable, all the while keeping it educational. Overall, the park has been beautifully structured and I think they are doing a great job for the animals and the environment. I am grateful to Wittenborg and Apenheul for this opportunity and I would like to visit the park again soon.”
For HBA student Valeriia Gineva, specialising in Sports Business Management, collaborations of this type are positive for all parties involved and offer multiple benefits, such as protecting the environment. “During this activity, we were required to conduct research in different ways, such as asking questions to the zoo’s staff members and using our own experience as visitors at the park. This helped us improve our communication skills,” she added.
HBA student Musa Ayuba, also specialising in Sports Business Management, said that he enjoyed participating in the project week because activities like this enable students to work with people of different backgrounds and personalities. “For me, this was a good opportunity to develop skills such as proactiveness. Collaborating with proactive group members means that you also need to be proactive, so that you do not slow the group down. At first, I was not that interested in the field of animal conservation, but the project week was really insightful and made me learn and understand a number of things,” he stressed.
A Special Farewell
This was the last activity organised by Wittenborg’s bachelor's project week coordinator, Samantha Birdsall, before she moves on to fully dedicate her time to primary school teaching. Samantha complimented the students on their hard work and pointed out that the assignment gave them the chance to act as professional consultants, addressing important competencies such as teamwork and the ability to focus on work while going on an excursion.
Being the daughter of Wittenborg president Peter Birdsall, Samantha explains that the school has been part of her life since she was a child, and points out that in addition to coordinating the project weeks she did various types of work for Wittenborg.
“My first ‘job’ was going with the students on camp, at around age 12, and helping out while staying on the location with a few friends. So, it will be strange to let go of my work at Wittenborg, but I will never really be gone from the school. All these years taught me so much about working and working together that is it hard to sum up. Besides project weeks, I also learned a lot by being an administrative assistant, translating texts and writing articles for newsletters, among other tasks,” she says.
Samantha highlights that, given Wittenborg’s high level of diversity, coordinating the school’s project weeks was a great way to learn more about various cultures, languages, similarities and differences. “As a primary school teacher, it was also a way to see how teaching methods and assignments can be adapted for students of different ages and levels, and this has been very enriching,” she adds.
by Ulisses Sawczuk