ECU welcomes students from the Netherlands

In any language, time means money.

Dr. Jodi Farrington, teaching assistant professor in the East Carolina University Department of Construction Management, relayed that construction adage to visiting students from HAN University in the Netherlands on Thursday.

Dr. Jodi Farrington, teaching assistant professor, speaks to a student from HAN University in the Netherlands during a construction scheduling and cost control class.

The group of more than two dozen students, along with faculty from the university, spent two days visiting ECU and sat in on Farrington’s construction scheduling and cost control class. They teamed with ECU students during a lesson on the use of management software that allows for scheduling and cost estimates of construction projects.

HAN students said the software is different from what they use in the Netherlands, though the concepts of cost estimating and scheduling are similar.

ECU senior Kevin Wildish sat with HAN student Janna Willems, and though they discussed the class project, naturally their talk turned away from their studies.

“It’s nice to have a conversation with someone from a different part of the world,” he said. “I’ve been to quite a few countries in Europe, but never the Netherlands, so I was curious about what the lifestyle is like. I got to find out different things and talk about their trip here and where they’re going next. We went over the specifics of what we were doing in class, what she wanted to do and what I wanted to do. It was fun.”

HAN students came to ECU on the first days of a 10-day visit to the United States that includes stops in Washington and New York.

“I think the main thing is they’re learning about the differences, and how you live, how you learn, how you study and what campus looks like,” said Susan Frank, HAN faculty member. “We don’t have a campus like this. We don’t live on campus. Here, where you study, it is your life. At HAN, you go home. We had a walk of about 10 miles just to see campus.”

Robert Delange, right, a student from HAN University in the Netherlands, speaks with East Carolina University construction management major Will Osborne during class. Delange said he was enjoying his visit to ECU and the United States.

HAN student Robert Delange noted the size of everything in the United States.

“The buildings are big. The cars are big. The houses are big. The roads are big. Everything is big,” he said.

He said America felt like a movie.

“The people are so friendly,” he said. “When you need help or if you need to know about anything, you can ask a question and they’ll give you an answer.”

Delange said he attended a Bible study group in the Main Campus Student Center during his visit here.

“I had some conversations with students about how they live and how they study,” he said. “I’m Christian and they are Christian, and we talked about the differences in their lives and my life. It’s nice to see what the differences are, but it’s also nice to see what is the same.”

As part of their visit to ECU, the HAN students toured campus, including the athletic facilities and the labs in the Science and Technology Building, attended class and ate lunch at the dining halls. They enjoyed an ECU volleyball match and a pizza sendoff party.

The visit is another example of the cooperation between ECU’s Department of Construction Management and HAN University. During the summer, construction students Stavros Boardman, Jalene Camey and Carson Haithcox, along with Dr. Daniel Perrucci, assistant professor, visited HAN where they toured campus, attended sessions and classes and explored parts of the country. That trip was made in anticipation of an ECU study abroad experience that is being planned for the summer of 2024.