On 5th of June 2023, a group of 27 undergraduate students majoring in Geography and/or Urban Governance, as well as two staff members serving as field supervisors (Dr. VAN DER WOUDEN and Prof. Chen), gathered at De Waterkant (a venture operated by a social enterprise to promote social inclusion) and kicked off a brand-new oversea fieldtrip to the Netherlands and Belgium.
In the following two weeks, a wide variety of exploratory and educational activities have been conducted in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, De Hague, Maastricht, and Leuven. Leading by professional guides, students toured the historic city-center of Amsterdam and nature parks in Leuven, visited the harhour and container terminals of Rotterdam, discovered the historic and current usages of quarry caves, visited the campuses of Utrecht University and KU Leuven for lectures, explored the arts and historical treasures in the Rijksmuseum, and were guided to the Dutch parliament and introduced with its policy making system. Students have enjoyed talking and discussing with policy-makers, scholars, guides, university students and locals about diverse topics including sustainability, natural landscape, housing, transportation, climate change, and urban resilience.
To be as sustainable as possible, students only traveled by public transportation and on foot, averaging about 20.000 steps a day – an 10x increase from daily-life for some students. On the last day of the field-trip the students presented their learning experiences in creative formats, using AI-generated songs and a live rap performance. Friendships were formed, cultures experienced, classroom knowledge bridged with real-world issues, and new understandings generated. A fieldtrip to be remembered.