Phase 1 of the Master of Arts in Tourism Destination Management has started. Throughout five months, our international group of students will be participating in lectures and workshops at the NHTV University in Breda learning about tourism theories and research techniques. They will further engage in interactive group projects and meet stakeholders at various destinations within the Netherlands. Here we will continuously report on the students’ activities and give insights into their experiences of Phase 1 of the Master TDM in Breda.

Kicking off the Programme

On the 28th of August, we welcomed the Master TDM class 2017-2018 for the first time at NHTV – 34 students from 20 different countries including Romania, Finland, Spain, USA, Trinidad & Tobago, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. It is one of the most diverse groups that ever started the Master in Tourism Destination Management. This is not only due to their nationalities and origins but also to age and educational background. The perfect foundation for a unique year full of intercultural learning, challenges and fun.

Welcoming the new TDM students at NHTV in Breda

The new students are about to start a once in a lifetime experience. In only 12 months, they will be learning about theories of tourism, solving real-life problems in research teams and individually working on their master thesis. An intense and compact programme is awaiting them. Therefore, it was essential that before the start of Phase 1, our students got to know each other on a more personal level and familiarized themselves with Breda and Brabant, their new home for at least 5 months.

Destination Brabant

The TDM Introduction Week 2017-18 included various activities that were also supposed to give the students an understanding of Breda and Brabant as a destination. After a small city tour on the first day, the group went on an overnight trip to a typical Dutch ‘Landgoed’. They engaged in team building activities and sat together for drinks and games at night.

Action-packed team building activities at Landgoed de Biestheuvel in Hoogeloon

Not only physical capabilities were needed

The students also visited ‘van Gogh village’ Nuenen. Here, they discovered the tracks of Vincent van Gogh that are brought to life by the volunteers of the museum VincentreThis was an important aspect of getting to know Brabant as a tourism destination. After all, the cultural heritage of the famous Dutch painter is one the main reasons to visit the region.

The TDM students at the Vincent van Gogh museum in Nuenen

Following the tracks of the famous Dutch painter

Feeling Home and Away

After coming back from their excursion our group had the opportunity to ‘meet the Breda residents’. In small teams they conducted interviews with owners of local bookshops, cafés and restaurants, resident architects and many more.

These encounters helped the students with their assignment at the end of the week. In groups, they had to portray their impressions of the past days by small video clips. Students were supposed to illustrate how their mental maps of Breda and Brabant had changed throughout the introduction programme and answer questions such as ‘how do you make a home in Breda?’ Last, they were encouraged to reflect on the following quote:

“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things” (Herny Miller)

Videos of the Introduction Week

In the video clip of the first group, Roel, Lotte (The Netherlands), Hailey (Vietnam), Chelsea (USA) and Aliyyah (Trinidad & Tobago), are concerning about the things of Breda that appear to be familiar or unfamiliar and about the resources that are available to them in order to make for a great future. See for yourselves:

After introducing themselves in their native languages, Meraj (Bangladesh), Inge, Sophie (The Netherlands), Adrian (Romania), Waqar (Pakistan) Stelios (Greece) and Laurene (France) are explaining what Breda means to them already and how they can turn it into their new home:

Iris, Douwe, Ellis (The Netherlands), Thania (Germany), Simona (Italy) and Mohamad (Syria) share some of the impressions they have collected during the TDM Introduction Week. They further reflect on the quote of Henry Miller and define what ‘home’ means to them. Enjoy watching:

Group 4, Linda (Finland), Veronika (Russia), Amy (Aruba), Núria (Spain), Pim and David (The Netherlands), shows what it means to study in an intercultural setting while still adapting to the way of life in Breda:

Last but not least, Timoti (Indonesia), Janika (Germany), Charlotte (France), Ingrid (Peru) and Isabelle (The Netherlands) take us on “The Journey to a new home”. The Latin influence of our Peruvian student cannot be denied in this one:

The TDM Introduction Week 2017-18 was a full success. We are both happy and honoured to follow our new students on their journey throughout the next year. Even though challenges and conflicts will occur we believe that each of them will go through a unique learning experience. Their personal and professional development will help them to achieve the goal of becoming tourism professionals. We hope that one day they will remember these first days together with a smile on their face.