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Virtual International Collaboration in Higher Education

With Virtual International Collaboration Projects (VIS), universities of applied sciences give their students the opportunity to gain international experience from the Netherlands. In this form of cooperation, physical, financial, cultural or other obstacles are less or no obstacle to participation.

With the subsidy from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, lecturers and educationalists can set up or improve VIS projects. Besides financial support through the grant, support is also offered in the form of advice and training.

This website serves as the portal to this support. Here, you can:

  • Register for the training courses and the advisory parts,
  • get inspired by examples of success stories, both domestic and abroad,
  • you can also use this website to meet other teachers who are working on a VIS project in order to exchange knowledge and experience.

Once a year, a VIS event is organised where teachers and other interested parties get together. 

Virtual International Collaboration

Internationalisation of Higher Education serves as an important tool in improving education and its alignment to the international society and labour market where students will find themselves after their education. Higher education is increasingly becoming more international, for instance through Internationalisation at Home, a subject receiving much attention as of late. Beelen and Jones define Internationalisation at Home as the “purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum for all students within domestic learning environments”. This has provided a tool in internationalising Dutch education. A relatively new development in Internationalisation at Home is the increasing amount of Virtual Exchanges being offered to students. 

In Virtual Exchanges, defined by the Virtual Exchange Coalition as “Technology-enabled, sustained people-to-people education programs”, students get together in a structured setting, as part of their education, using online and digital technology. In Virtual exchange and Internationalisation at Home: navigating the terminology, Beelen and O’Dowd note that Virtual Exchanges should not be confused with Virtual Mobility, where students follow online courses at educational institutions abroad without having to travel. By contrast, Virtual Exchanges are aimed at bringing students together into structured dialogue in an online environment in order to develop their intercultural and international competences. The core of Virtual Exchanges exists around the structured interactions, and collaboration, between students from different countries and cultural backgrounds. The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sciences builds upon this trend by supporting VIS projects, stimulating the internationalisation of Dutch Higher Education through virtual tools, using the principles and aims of Virtual Exchanges. As an additional requirement, the Ministry requires international collaboration between students based in different countries that lead to a tangible end-product based on co-creation.