EAIE training courses

by Hanneke Teekens

Senior Adviser, Department of Educational Studies and Consultancy (DESC),

Nuffic, the Netherlands, and current Course Leader for the EAIE training courses



The EAIE is a professional association for people who have an interest in, and a commitment to, internationalising higher education. That means that professionals with very different backgrounds are active in the field. Most people who start to work in international education have not usually received any specific training for their new job. They more or less ‘tumble’ into it, some may argue ‘stumble’ into it, for the field is very complex and you need a lot of specific knowledge and skills before you become proficient. From the very beginning of its existence the EAIE has therefore seen training as an important contribution towards improving the conditions for international education and allowing it to flourish and develop. Since 1991 various courses have been offered and by now hundreds of participants from all over the world have taken part, although the majority has come from Europe of course. At the end of the courses participants have not only learned new information, but they have also improved their network of contacts and their personal mastery of intercultural communication, because the international setting of the courses is a tremendous learning experience in itself. Small group work invites participants to take an active role and discussion is a major feature of the course format. As the course leader for the past two years I feel well qualified to state that the courses are very intensive and ask a lot from the participants, but at the same time they offer a lot of fun and are a wonderful personal and professional experience for all who take part. One participant wrote, "It is so nice to know that the problems I have in my work are the same in other institutions and that I have friends now that I can contact to discuss and try to find a solution".


Training programme

In 1991 the first EAIE training course took place, entitled ‘International education in Europe’. Since then the training programme has grown, changed and developed to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding field. The courses take place under the auspices of the Training Committee of the EAIE and in cooperation with various partners, notably Maastricht University, Nuffic (the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and in 2000 the University of Coimbra. Over the years various courses have been offered, but the core of the content remains focused on administration and policy in international education. In recent years the Professional Sections of the Association have offered additional courses and training, making the EAIE a truly professional network for the improvement of the field.

For the year 2000 three courses will be organised by the EAIE's Training Committee. Each of these courses is a unit in itself.


Introduction to the internationalisation of higher education

Course I, taking place in Maastricht, is an introductory course, giving a bird's-eye view of the various aspects and instruments of the internationalisation of higher education. It is intended for persons who have up to two or three years of experience and who would like to put their daily work into a conceptual framework that helps them to understand how the various elements of international education are linked together.


Internationalisation and strategic management in higher education

Course II will take place in Barcelona and focuses on strategic management in higher education. This course is aimed at professionals who are responsible within their institution for policy development and the implementation of new strategies for internationalisation. In this course we usually see participants with several years of experience and with responsibilities for the decision-making process in strategic planning in their institutions.


Internationalising the curriculum in higher education

Course III, taking place in Coimbra, looks at the internationalisation of the curriculum in higher education. This course is intended for staff involved in setting up international programmes in their institution. Increasingly the importance of the international dimension of the curriculum is recognised, but it is also realised that internationalising the curriculum requires additional knowledge and skills in those persons who are responsible for providing such programmes.


Venues and lecturing specialists

The first courses were run in cooperation with Maastricht University, in the most southern part of The Netherlands. This beautiful old city with its Roman heritage and lovely buildings and churches from different periods provides very pleasant surroundings. But what makes Maastricht even more appropriate for a truly European course is the fact that it is situated on a crossroad of different cultures and languages in a fascinating region. Within a few kilometres of Maastricht you can hear French and German in addition to the Dutch language. An added value is the close proximity of Brussels, where a visit is paid during the introductory course.

In 1996 courses took place in Prague, followed by Milano and Barcelona in the years thereafter, and setting the tone of choosing important centres of culture for the various courses in the programme. The delightful city of Coimbra in Portugal will be a very suitable place to continue this tradition.

Another reason for changing the venues is to make the courses themselves more international. In general, participation from institutions in the north of Europe has been greater than that from institutions in the south. It is hoped that locating the courses in various countries will contribute to a more even distribution of nationalities. A variety of countries and backgrounds is not only sought in the choice of venues, but also with the invitation of the guest professors on the programme. The first reason for inviting them to contribute is, of course, their specific expertise, but we also pay special attention to including different nationalities to secure a multicultural approach.


Target group and course format

From the above it will be clear that participants from very different walks of life in international education are welcome and can profit from the EAIE training courses. In fact the heterogeneous composition of the groups is an important added value. You can learn from very different people, in different institutions and from different countries. The courses are open to both staff in the administration of international education and academics involved in international courses and responsible for student mobility and internationalising the curriculum. For courses II and III, I recommend participation for those who have several years of experience.

The course format combines theoretical and practical insights within national, institutional and personal contexts. Informative lectures will be alternated with small group discussion and hands-on assignments. Participants are invited to reflect on their personal situation and to link new insights to possible applications in their work situation. Participants are expected to take an active role: as learners, as contributors to the group work and discussion, and as professional colleagues in an international network.



A short note on language! Of course this is a very important topic in the internationalisation of higher education. We see that English is increasingly the language of communication in this field. In the first place as a ‘business language’ to facilitate student mobility, but in many countries also as the language of instruction in international courses. This applies also to the EAIE courses where English is the language used for instruction and for the discussion in the group work.

The intensive and interactive nature of the courses requires a command of English that really enables a participant to take part. That means that interpreters cannot be allowed to attend, nor may fellow participants be asked to act as substantive interpreters: occasional help with a difficult word is fine, but a constant whispering is very disturbing for the other participants. So the Training Committee has made the rule that participants whose command of English proves insufficient for the demands of the course must withdraw. But please do not allow this to frighten you away! Different participants have different levels of English and we all take that into account, so there is no problem if you are not completely fluent. You just need a good basic command of the language. And what is so good about the course is that at the end of the week we have all improved our language skills as a result of communicating all the time in English!


A warm welcome

As the course leader of the programme in 2000 I look forward to seeing a special participation from Portugal on the courses this year, especially in Coimbra, but hopefully also at the other venues. I hope that the information in this article has given you the background information to convince your superiors that to improve your professional capacities it is very important to upgrade your knowledge and to participate in a professional network. For me personally it will be a delight to work in your country and I look forward very much to getting to know more about your culture and the conditions for the internationalisation of higher education in Portugal.


Details of the 2000 EAIE training courses, registration deadline 10 April 2000


Title of course



5 to 9 June

Introduction to the internationalisation of higher education

Maastricht, The Netherlands

NLG 2550 for 2000 EAIE members, NLG 2750 for non-members

18 to 22 June

Internationalisation and strategic management in higher education

Barcelona, Spain

NLG 2500 for 2000 EAIE members, NLG 2700 for non-members

2 July to 6 July

Internationalising the curriculum in higher education

Coimbra, Portugal

NLG 2500 for 2000 EAIE members, NLG 2700 for non-members


To register for a course, you are warmly invited to use the interactive registration form available at the EAIE website (http://www.eaie.org) or to contact the EAIE Secretariat for a copy of the training course brochure and registration form.


EAIE Secretariat

PO Box 11189

1001 GD Amsterdam

The Netherlands

tel +31-20-525 49 99

fax +31-20-525 49 98

e-mail eaie@eaie.nl