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Dries de Moor

For content information:
Dries de Moor
E-mail: Dries de Moor
Tel: 0644380055

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- For minors starting in September, after the registration period in March, a draw takes place in April if there are at that time more subscribers than available places.
- For minors starting in February, after the registration period in October, a draw takes place in November if there are at that time more subscribers than available places.

For the minors with places still available applies until the closing of the subscription period: Once a minor is full, it is closed!

In addition, if the number of subscribers after four weeks is below the norm; this minor may possibly be withdrawn. So if you are interested, sign up immediately!

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A good overview of the HAN minors can be found in the minors app! The app is accessible via: http://www.minoren-han.nl/

In Search of Meaning is an inspiring exchange course at HAN where you learn to deal with life questions in your personal and professional life. What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? What should we pursue? You will learn about different topics related to spirituality, philosophy, happiness, mindfulness and personal values. We dig deep in life and see what our existence really means to us. This course is about manifesting your creativity and exploring your own path, personally and professionally.

Do you sometimes wonder about the meaning of life or the meaning of your own life? Would you like to explore different worldviews and beliefs that tackle these important life questions? And discover how such matters affect health, wellbeing and society?

Then sign up for this hands-on, inspiring course. In Search of Meaning won’t give you simple answers to life questions. Humans have always dealt with the mystery of life from very diverse worldviews. These are typically based on religion, spirituality, philosophy, nature, relationships and personal values. During this course you practice dealing with life questions through personal and professional development.

“Spirituality is relational. Thus, it underlies the very nature of who we are as people in community - communities at home, work, places of worship, and with friends” (Johnston-Taylor, 2007).


  • Topics such as worldviews, values, rituals, happiness, resonance and inspiration
  • Concepts in philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology related to existential meaning
  • How to enrich your professional perspective and your personal development to deal with existential questions
  • Supportive communication skills such as listening to your inner self and non-violent communication
  • Social design skills to create meaningful moments and methods, such as rituals to support life transitions, or practical exercises in existential awareness for specific groups/contexts
  • International perspective on themes (comparing the Dutch situation to situation in your own country and that of your classmates)

Type of exchange course

Block exchange course
This exchange course is offered once or twice a year in a block during a semester

This is a differentiation exchange course. This means it enables you to develop your professional competences in a different/broader context.

This is a specialisation exchange course. This means it enables you to further deepen your skills and knowledge within your own profession (professional profile).

This is a continuation exchange course. You are interested in conducting more research and are preparing to continue your studies at a university (or to enrol in a Masters degree course at a University of Applied Sciences).


The learning outcomes and competences below will help you decide whether this exchange course matches your personal goals.

Once you have completed this course, you can:

  • apply concepts related to existential meaning to actual life questions.
  • use your professional perspective and skills to deal with life questions.
  • use relevant communication skills to support others: such as listening to your inner self, being present, polyphony, non-violent communication, working with silence.
  • use social design skills to co-create meaningful moments for yourself and others, such as rituals supporting life transitions.
  • discover and explore your own worldview and the worldviews of others around you.
  • use professional products in practice (e.g. research, interventions, games, policy)
  • describe international comparative perspectives on life questions.

The course is divided into two units of study.

Unit 1: In search of meaning: personal development and meaningful communication skills

You work on these tasks:

  • Relecting on and developing your own worldview
  • Having meaningful discussions and guiding others
  • Ritualization of a life question with a client

Unit 2: In search of meaning: methods and professional stance

You work on these tasks:

  • Having meaningful discussions
  • Exploring, analyzing, defining a life question
  • Comparing worldview theory in international perspective
  • Helping to develop an existential perspective within the profession


  • The professional identifies life questions or sources of meaning (or lack thereof) in people who need care or support
  • The professional contributes to personal development amongst co-workers and in their field
  • The professional has an adequate insight into their own worldview and recognizes their personal and professional boundaries

An exchange course will be of most benefit to you if it complements your study and/or your professional profile, is at an appropriate level and does not overlap with your major.

For whom?

Undergraduate students from one of the following fields:

  • Any field related to human wellbeing
  • Anyone who is interested in meaning making and spirituality


Admission requirements

  • You have already earned at least 60 ECTS credits
  • Your English language skills are at a B2 level or higher


Nice to know

  • Full-time and part-time students have joint theory lectures
  • Full-time students complete project assignments (this can be part of an internship, and/or within a creative development- or researchproject)
  • Part-time students complete work-based learning assignments and are expected to work in a job relevant to the course for at least 2 days a week
  • You can complete unit 2 independently in your own country and receive online coaching. However, we recommend you come to the Netherlands for the entire course if possible.


During this exchange course your performance will be assessed in the following ways:

Unit 1: In search of meaning: personal development and meaningful communication skills

1. Personal search for meaning
Digital portfolio evaluation of personal development and skills

2. The art of ritualization
Co-creation of a meaningful ritual, shown in a report

Unit 2: In search of meaning: methods and professional stance

3. Life questions explored
Paper and dialogue about an issue in professional practice

4. Meaningful product
Evaluation report of a co-creational project, e.g.: participatory (action) research, qualitative research, training for volunteers, development of methods, instrument, etc. – for professional practice


The joint lessons with part-time and full-time students take place on Tuesday. The other days of the week are reserved for other learning activities. Some of these will be scheduled in advance. Other activities will be scheduled in consultation with the students.

As a full-time student, you are expected to be available from Monday to Friday, although we always try to schedule all classes within two days, so you can use the other days for the other learning activities.

As a part-time student, you are expected to be available on Tuesday.


Learning activities

  • Creative and reflective assignments
  • Lectures
  • Workshops (e.g. meditation, mindfulness, ritualization, outdoor life-coaching)
  • Excursions
  • Practical work
  • Online coaching
  • Feedback on assignments from lecturers and classmates
  • Literature study



Literature used during the course:

  • Esfahani Smith, E. (2017). The Power of Meaning - The true route to happiness. Ebury Publishing, London.
  • Gordon-Lennox, J. (2017). The rhyme and reason of ritual making. In: Gordon-Lennox (ed.), Emerging ritual in secular societies. A transdisciplinary conversation. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. (pp 70-90)
  • Johnston Taylor, E. (2007). What do I say?: Talking with patients about spirituality. Philadelphia and London: Templeton Foundation Press. (e-book, free access with your HAN university-account)
  • McGuire, M. (2008). Everyday religion as lived. In: M. Mc. Guire, Lived religion. Faith and practice in everyday life. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (pp. 3-17, free via our digital classroom OnderwijsOnline with an active HAN university account)
  • De Moor, D. and Hermsen, M. (2018). Achieving happiness at care farms in the Netherlands. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice, 27(6), pp.4–23. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.545
  • Smart, N. (1998). The World’s Religions (2nd Ed.). Cambridge:Cambridge University Press. (Introduction chapter pp 10-28, free via our digital classroom OnderwijsOnline with an active HAN university account).

It is useful to buy or borrow the 2 books by Esfhani-Smith and Johnston Taylor before the start of the course. The rest will be available digitally.

Recommended literature will be indicated before and during the course. This is based on the projects and students’ own learning objectives.

HAN students can enrol via Alluris.

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non-HAN students need to first make an acount with www.kiesopmaat.nl

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