UCR’s Going Glocal programme helps transform students into global citizens by fostering education geared towards social responsibility and the exercise of democratic citizenship. The initiative represents a pioneering effort at Utrecht University, connecting students with local communities near and far, where they explore global issues in local contexts through dialogue, sharing, practice and action.

Guiding principles of Going Glocal

The two guiding principles of the Going Glocal programme are that, first, it fosters education for global citizenship and, second, it is guided by a belief that for deep learning, a combination of theory, practice, and action is most effective. Students will develop skills to recognize the connectedness of different aspects of the world and gain a sense of social responsibility within that world. The programme leads students on a global citizenship journey in which they start learning though theory, followed by gaining experiences in a localized setting abroad, and end with social action back home. Going Glocal inspires, encourages and equips young people to create a better world.

Students start with a semester-long interdisciplinary preparatory course on campus during which they study numerous topics such as globalization and social history. After the theoretical part of the programme, the summer global citizenship field practicum starts. Students will visit a community in either Namibia, Mexico or the United States where they work on projects with local youth, volunteer in schools and community organizations, learn from local activists, undertake research, and participate in workshops with their peers. These practical forms of learning with their local hosts enable deep cross-cultural exchanges, dialogue, and understanding. Upon their return, students undertake a period of personal and collective reflection, then develop and implement related outreach projects within their own locale.

"To be in Namibia was not only one of the greatest and most diversifying experiences of my life, but also very transformative for my perception of myself and the world around me."

Going Glocal has already proven itself to be a powerful and innovative initiative. It has had a profound impact on students that have taken part, with many having gone onto post-graduate degree programmes and careers in fields correlating with the programme, such as international development and environmental management. Students say that taking part in Going Glocal taught them a lot about other communities, other people and also about themselves. By working with schools in Zeeland, the programme has been able to introduce pupils and teachers to global citizenship education. Moreover, through symposia and numerous publications, the initiative has brought the global citizenship education experiences to a wider audience.

Mid-March 2022, it will be announced whether this project will be one of the six nominated projects for the Dutch Higher Education Award. Mid-April 2022, the ranking of the three projects that will receive a prize will be announced. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science distributes three amounts of money:

  • the highest award of the Dutch Higher Education Award is 1.2 million euros
  • the second place of the Dutch Higher Education Award is 800,000 euros
  • the third place of the Dutch Higher Education Award is 500,000 euros

For more information about Going Glocal, contact John Friedman at j.friedman@ucr.nl.