Er hangen vlaggen in een steegje. De vlaggetjes zijn de vlaggen van landen.
Er hangen vlaggen in een steegje. De vlaggetjes zijn de vlaggen van landen.

First things first: ensuring a safe and inclusive environment as a foundation for an international curriculum

Comenius Teaching Fellowship
Project member(s)
Prof. L. Plate (Liedeke)
Project type

Prof. dr. Liedeke Plate received a Comenius grant for the project 'First things first'. It redeveloped Radboud University’s Arts and Culture Studies (ACS) mentoring programme to include international and intercultural competences. It prioritises the creation of a safe and inclusive environment as the very first step to internationalisation and the international classroom.

Reason for the project

Currently, students do not reap the full benefits of an international classroom. Dutch and international students do not easily mix and consequently, do not acquire the international competences necessary to be successful in their 21st-century personal and professional lives. To solve this problem, the current curriculum was adjusted.

Approach within the project

The mentoring programme was redeveloped to include international and intercultural competences such as culture shock, intercultural awareness, intercultural communication, and working in international teams. This programme was then comprehensively integrated in the current curriculum as an intervention to instil international competences and create the safe and inclusive learning environment required for students to fully benefit from the international classroom. Because the role of the mentors, lecturers, and student advisors is central to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment, staff training was integral to the project. 

To ensure that the project’s benefits extend to all international programmes at Radboud University, a sounding board was established, to collaborate with teaching staff and student advisors from different programmes and faculties from the start. In addition, Liedeke Plate wrote an experience book in collaboration with dr. Sandy Barasa and their student assistant Daniela Piangiolino. In this book, they describe the steps they took, reflect on some obstacles they encountered and provide tips and suggestions.

Download the book First Things First

The book can be downloaded here. A hardcopy can be obtained by sending an email to stafsecretariaat [at] (stafsecretariaat[at]let[dot]ru[dot]nl).


This project is funded by a scholarship from the Comenius Programme. Every year, the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) awards these grants to renewal projects in education. 

Contact information

Would you like to know more? Do not hesitate to contact the project holder.