I had the honour to interview Anna Voinova, Lecturer at BUAS and international coordinator for (games and media) quite a few years now. She has a lot of experience with sending students abroad and welcoming them to our school.

What can we do as students to show other students why they should come to our school?
As an international school, we have partner universities we need to sign an agreement with. What normally happens is that we get a limited number of placements. Let’s imagine you have four placements a year, two students in the first semester and two students in the second semester, and then their students need to come to us. But over a few years, we need to have a similar number who come back to us. That’s where it becomes a bit of a challenge because students really choose the location first and then maybe the study program afterwards “I want to go to Paris, Barcelona, America”. Because we don’t have a central location for our university, we need to promote our study programs more and really attract the students to our study program. This can be done through students telling authentic stories about the campus and student life in Breda.

You are now living in a different country than you grew up in yourself, what is your experience living in a different country?
I originally come from Moscow, Russia. When I graduated from university, I
worked for a year and a half at the university I graduated from as a lecturer. Then I met my husband and we moved to the UK. My husband is British, so for some time, we lived in the United Kingdom together. Then we both found a job in the Netherlands (he is also a lecturer at our university). Of course, there was a big cultural difference because I had to experience it twice.

When I talk to colleagues or other expats the main thing is not to expect that the country you’re living in will somehow change for you. You need to change for the country because you decided to live there. I chose to live in an international environment. Whether it is for a short time like an exchange or something longer like going to work somewhere for a long time, you need to be open to the idea of change. The best way to look at it is as a completely new experience. Only then it will allow you to thrive in a completely new environment. In a way, your kind of growing another you. Not necessarily a new you, but one that is combined with all your experiences. Not everyone wants to or is able to do so. Those are the ones that hold on to the old versions of themselves. Of course, it also depends on the environment that you end up in. If you end up in a friendly environment than it is much easier to adjust. If the environment isn’t helpful and rejects you, you can try creating a different version of you all you want but that’s not going to work. So, it doesn’t only depend on you. I was really fortunate to experience in the Netherlands and the UK that the environment really embraced me.

More information can be found in; My portal > all applications> LMS > Info sources > General BUAS information > Student office > Exchange