Walk To Understanding

Boost your 21st Century Skills and Master Global Citizenship - while Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain

This course is closed and you can't apply anymore. Please check our other courses.


Course Level
ECTS credits
Course location(s)
Universidad de León, Spain



This course will take you to Spain - where you will train yourself in compassionate leadership, communicating and collaborating, while walking the Camino de Santiago -- the iconic pilgrimage, steeped in medieval charm.

This is not just a course. It is not just a walk. It is an odyssey of the spirit -  an eight-day voyage towards mastering the 21st-century skills for global citizenship.

The course is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, bringing you insights and new capabilities that will be beneficial to you for the rest of your life.

This course is about the stuff that is rarely found in curricula at schools or universities. It is about you as a human being and how you relate to yourself, others, and other cultures. It is about the meaning and purpose of diversity and inclusiveness. It is about the four-mode perspective that broadens your scope and your communication and collaboration skills. It is about critical thinking, self-regulation and becoming your very best as a caring, responsible global citizen and professional.

The content of the course is similar to our successful course (B50) 'Boost your 21st Century Skills and Master Global Citizenship', which will be offered again in Utrecht from 29 July to 2 August 2024. We offer this new course as an additional specialty in combination with the challenge of Walking the Camino de Santiago with the class (!), with the aim of leveraging the positive effect of dynamic learning on creativity and reflection (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142–1152.

The course is highly interactive: experiencing is key. With every challenge, you enter a new stage, a new level of maturity, discovering new insights and secrets about life and living. AND: it is so much fun doing it, together with fellow students from around the globe.

You should think of this course as a five-day voyage towards mastering the 21st century skills for global citizenship.

Globalization, polarisation, and a range of issues that affect people and nature around the globe, make a strong sense of global citizenship more important than ever before. We are living in an age in which technology has profoundly influenced the ways we think, feel, act, communicate and collaborate. This raises all kinds of questions, it reveals needs and requires skills for understanding ourselves and others in this constantly changing world.

The so-called 21st century skills are considered the most important skills to succeed in today's workplace, since they can be universally applied to enhance ways of thinking, learning, working and living in the world. These skills are: critical thinking/reasoning, creativity/creative thinking, problem-solving, metacognition, collaboration, communication and global citizenship.

In this highly interactive course, discovering, experiencing, and sharing are the key activities.

On days 1 and 2, you will be introduced to the Four-Mode Perspective. This universal principle entails that every challenge can be met, and that every message can be delivered in four different ways. Your skillfulness and effectivity in communicating with others will quadruple overnight!

On days 3, 4 and 5 you will immerse yourself into eight other 21st century skills: Collaboration, Socio-cultural awareness, Self-regulation, Critical thinking, Media literacy, Creativity, Problem-solving skills and Entrepreneurship. All in a global perspective, and broadening your scope as a global citizen.

Every exercise in the course is practical, fun to do, and highly educational. The course is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, bringing you insights and new capabilities that will be beneficial to you for the rest of your life.

Your discoveries and learning won’t end on the last day of the course. We will invite you and your fellow students to form a Circle of Understanding, and each of you will be offered 25 real-life challenges for 100 more days to further grow both personally and professionally. During that time, your phone will be your classroom and you will be able to share your experiences with your peers on a private online platform. This highly effective way of micro-learning is currently being adopted by universities around the world to support students (and staff) in developing global citizenship and 21st-century skills.

This course is offered in collaboration with Ewald Theunisse, co-founder of the Academy of Understanding.


What previous participants (summer 2023) wrote about the course (these students took the course in Utrecht  - not this version in Spain where we combine the course with a parcourse on the Camino de Santiago)

"This course proved to be an amazing journey that celebrates the beauty of diversity and shows the true power of learning about different cultures."

"Thank you for this amazing course! That gave me a better understanding of cultural differences, a better understanding of people’s behaviour and moods. This course gave me a better understanding of myself, my values, aim and motivation. The course is full of activities, so it was also fun. Thank you for this opportunity!’

"My favourite course!! Students are encouraged to communicate, there’s a range of creative activities, open classroom atmosphere, and the lecturers are approachable and inclusive."

Day to Day Documents

Packing List Walk to Understanding- Boost your 21st Century Skills and Master Global Citizenship _0.docx


Ewald Theunisse

Miriam Zwaan BBA MEd

Target audience

We are looking for students in any discipline who believe that human understanding makes all the difference and want to train themselves in compassionate leadership, communication and collaborating and also like the challenge of walking/hiking a part of the world-famous Camino de Santiago.

The course is open to all students from different fields of study with an interest in becoming a better person and professional.

We set the route on the Camino in such a way that it should be doable for healthy, fit people, with no additional training required. We will walk between 2.5 and 4.5 hours per day.

To walk on the Camino, you will need:

  • A backpack suitable for long walks
  • Hiking shoes (no sneakers or trail runner shoes)
  • Walking sticks (you can bring them in your luggage, but they are also available in Spain)

These three items are compulsory for this walk. Without them, you cannot join.

After your registration, we will send you a detailed packing list (also enclosed with the course information on this page).

Aim of the course

  • This intensive programme aims to enrich your personal and professional life in a variety of ways. Not only will the nine skills expand your capabilities, they will also broaden your perspective on life and how to lead it with more resilience and compassion;
  • Students will gain insight into possible ways of looking, thinking, doing, listening, and communicating and will become aware of their own ways, and those of others;
  • Students will strengthen their so called 21st century skills: Socio-cultural competencies, Communication skills, Collaboration, Critical thinking, Self-regulation, Media literacy, Entrepreneurship, Problem-solving skills, and Creativity;
  • Students will proceed in mastering Global Citizenship.

The didactical approach of this course may be quite different from what you would expect from a traditional module. Together with lecturers and professional coaches from the work field we will guide you through a meaningful and valuable experience, while walking the historic pilgrim route.

The sessions and assignments are highly interactive, challenging and fun: you will be invited to experiment, experience, reflect and discuss. You will learn by doing and explore different perspectives, while in the meantime being offered important professional and personal insights. The course will help you integrate your existing knowledge and skills with new insights, step out of your comfort zone and develop the mind-set to improve communication and compassionate collaboration.. During this learning experience, you will receive intensive coaching.

As a follow-up on the course, you will receive 25 real-life challenges for a period of 100 days. These will enable you to continue your learning process in a practical and fun way.

Study load

The total workload represents approximately 84 hours (3 ECTS) of training, workshops, coaching, assignments.

Participants will be graded based on their performance during the assignments, assessed by means of participation, handling feedback and a reflective report. The overall level of participation and cooperation within group settings will be taken into account.

Compulsory elements: Students must attend all learning activities unless absence is officially approved.


  • Course fee: €950.00
  • Included: Course + course materials


The course fee presented applies to all students currently enrolled in a bachelor, master or PhD programme and to 'Fresh Alumni'.

If this applies to you and you therefore believe that you are eligible for this fee, please include this in your motivation when applying for this course.

If not, the professional fee of €1299 is applicable, and will be invoiced and visible for you in your account once you are accepted to the course.

Please note: if you do not provide proof that you are currently enrolled in a bachelor, master or PhD programme or a  'Fresh Alumni', we will charge the ‘professional (higher) fee!


The fee includes the study programme, study material, and Bed & Breakfast (from Thursday 20 June up to and including Thursday 27 June).

The fee does not include your travel (from home) to Leon (Spain), and neither your outbound trip from Ponferrada (Spain) after the course.

Additional information

The housing fee is included in the course fee.

A hostel (Bed & Breakfast) will be booked for you on Thursday 20 June, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 27 June 2024. The hostels are along the route that we will walk together as part of the course.

Our last hostel is in Ponferrada (Spain). The programme finishes on Thursday 27 June (in the evening). The last night Bed & Breakfast is booked for Thursday 27 June in Ponferrada.


Please note that as part of this course, every day you will be walking/hiking, with the teachers/coaches and the class, for approximately 2.5 to 4 hours on the Camino de Santiago (except for the first Friday and the last Thursday - so five days in a row, in total). 


Location of the first day of the programme

All participants should arrive in Leon (Spain) Thursday 20 June 2024 at the latest.

Travel to and from Leon (Spain) is not part of the programme and not included in the programme fee, and should be arranged by the participants themselves. Of course, we are here for you if you need any advice.

On Friday morning 20 June we will start the programme at 9.00 hours at Universidad de Leon. Hostels are booked from Thursday 20 June and every following day up to and including Thursday 27 June. The programme continues until Thursday evening, 27 June.