Students from the Netherlands tour ECU

A group of college students from the Netherlands walked through East Carolina University’s main campus.

Students and faculty from HAN University in the Netherlands tour ECU. (Photo by Ken Buday)

“It’s very big here. It’s like a whole city,” Linde Kortleve said. “Our school, it’s like three buildings and that’s it. We live at home or rent a room in the city.”

Thirty students and five faculty members from HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem, Netherlands, toured ECU’s main campus as well as the Outer Banks campus during a three-day visit to the area as guests of the College of Engineering and Technology.

The two universities have shared a bond for several years. HAN faculty members came to ECU to teach courses in the Department of Construction Management before the COVID-19 pandemic, and two returned as part of the group that visited.

Meanwhile, a group of ECU construction students visited HAN as part of a study abroad trip that included tours in the Netherlands and Germany.

Dr. George Wang, chair of ECU’s Department of Construction Management, hopes to see the bond strengthen and expand, suggesting the possibility of a joint study abroad excursion in which groups of students from each university meet in Australia to study construction techniques there.

“When you travel, you can learn a lot in just one week,” he said.

HAN students toured the labs in the Science and Technology Building, got their pictures made with the iconic Pirate statue in the mall, and enjoyed the Main Campus Student Center, student recreation center and football stadium. They also experienced some Greenville and North Carolina culture with lunch at Sup Dogs, some Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and a cold soda or two.

“The Pepsi is perfect,” said student Coen Cornelisse.

Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, speaks to students from the Netherlands who were visiting ECU. (Photo by Ken Buday)

With average high temperatures in Arnhem in the middle 60s, they also experienced some typical eastern North Carolina summer heat and humidity with temperatures around 90.

“I still like it outside in the mornings,” student Simone Visser said.

She found the piano in the Main Campus Student Center to her liking, sitting down and playing a tune to the delight of her fellow students.

“It’s been really great, for sure,” Visser said of her trip to the United States. “I’ve had a lot of new impressions — a lot of things I’ve only seen in movies so far, and now I’ve seen them in real life.”

After leaving North Carolina, the group toured the monuments and museums in Washington and even took in a Washington Nationals baseball game.

“I always wanted to go to America, and now I am here with all my friends and to see the university.” said Kortleve, who locked arms with her friend Noor Welting for a photograph next to the Pirate statue on the mall. “This has always been a high school dream.”

“It’s nice to see other countries and other things from the world,” Welting added.

After greeting the students with “goedemorgen,” which is Dutch for good morning, Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, thanked the students for being so engaged in their education that they would want to visit ECU and the United States.

“It’s an excellent thing to be able to travel and see the differences in things, to see the United States, to see North Carolina and more specifically eastern North Carolina,” he said. “It’s not a very big world, and we need to have these types of relationships to have a better world.”

Students from HAN University in the Netherlands pose for a photo during a tour of ECU. (Photo by Ken Buday)