Internationalisation is looking for new frontiers, according to Mervin Bakker, Director of the Netherlands Education Support Office (Neso) in Pretoria, South Africa. Bakker should know, because promising new projects in this country are certainly pushing boundaries. Amid water shortages and other challenges, Nuffic brings together people, cultures and innovative ideas.
In the first episode of Nuffic’s new podcast series Our People Abroad, journalist Mike Cooper talks with Bakker about his life in South Africa, the importance of innovative internationalisation, recent accomplishments of Neso, and what surprised Bakker most about his new hometown of Pretoria, after having spent the previous six years in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In this sit-down interview, Bakker also elaborates on the role of Dutch students and engineering companies in coming up with new ideas to confront Capetown’s severe water shortage. Then there is the Co-Create My City project, in which Dutch and South African students work together in finding innovative solutions to city-specific challenges. The outcome will be presented this November, with people in high office planning to attend.
“Our accomplishments show that the global presence of Nuffic in general, and our local presence here specifically, is truly adding value”, Bakker tells Cooper. “On the ground in South Africa we can realise things that cannot be realised from afar.”
Listen to the first episode of Nuffic’s podcast series Our People Abroad.