Instructor Learns More about Culture and College in the Netherlands

PDCCC Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, Alice Dinkelman, Ann Pinner, Dr. Paul Wm. Conco

Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, vice president of academic and student development, from left, Alice Dickelman, Ann Pinner and Paul Wm. Conco, PDCCC president, take a moment for a photo during the meet and greet on the Franklin Campus.

Through an international program, Ann Pinner, associate professor at Paul D. Camp Community College, exchanged more than just information about nursing when Alice Dinkelman visited from the Netherlands.

“The exchange was an enriching experience for me professionally and personally,” said Pinner. “We spent hours discussing the similarities and many differences in our colleges, educational system as a whole, health care delivery and nursing.”

Dinkelman and Pinner are able to share their experiences as exchange partners through the Virginia Community College System’s International Exchange program. Dinkelman recently stayed at Pinner’s Suffolk home for two weeks and met many people during her visit. Meet and Greet sessions were coordinated at the College’s Franklin and Hobbs Suffolk campuses.

A nursing instructor at ROC van Twente in Hengelo, Netherlands, Dinkelman found people warm and welcoming here.

She was also “impressed” with the fact that the ages of students attending community colleges are so varied, giving everyone higher education opportunities.

Dinkelman spent time in Pinner’s classroom and presented to the College Board and the nursing students. She also toured area hospitals.

In addition to introducing her to the Tidewater area, Pinner took Dinkelman to visit the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive, as well as the Washington, D.C., area.

“While at the World War II Memorial, a large group of veterans and their escorts were there,” recalled Pinner. “Once they had gathered for a photo, Alice initiated applause for them and spoke to some of them individually, thanking them for liberating her country at the end of World War II.”

Pinner’s father served in World War II.

“It was quite moving for both of us,” she said about Alice’s experience.

Dinkelman has created an online platform that will allow the nursing students of both colleges to have the opportunity for virtual exchange. Plans are to have this up and running soon. Pinner plans to visit the Netherlands in May 2014.