We offer students who apply for internships or graduation projects at Except, a place at Except Academy. A multidisciplinary team of students is working together on an urban transformation program. We call it an Urban Renaissance (UR) project. Project: Collectively working on the sustainable transformation of a neighborhood in Rotterdam using a systems approach. Why we do it: We believe that problems can be approached in a different way. By looking at the entire system instead of one specific problem, you can point out interventions that contribute to a resilient and flourishing future. Except Academy teaches and inspires the next generation to create the foundations of a sustainable society and together we learn from the process. Team: Every team is a multidisciplinary international team of students. The perfect multidisciplinary team has a leader, content expert, creative person and business developer. Each team member brings in their own talents and their own research question. Deliverables: Every group of students has a few deliverables: - Inspiration book: a wide range of ideas for sustainable transformation, e.g. ideas for energy, materials, waste, water, bio-diversity, economy, mobility, cultural development, health and happiness. The inspiration book will be widely spread. - Event: for partners and stakeholders, to ensure involvement and to launch ideas. - Publication: the research is published in scientific magazines and other media. Timetable We offer 2 trajectories per year: February-June and September-January. Investment You are welcome to join, but we do ask you to fully commit to this. We do not pay an internship fee, but offer you a unique experience. Please send an e-mail to work@except.nl to apply.

We asked the current team how they experience Except Academy:

My Experience at Except Academy

by Sylvie Herzet | Bachelor Environmental Science | Avans

"I can't help but say that Except Academy sure is...exceptional. The unique way of teaching concepts, the method used to tackle complex problems, the great humanity of each coach and the freedom of thought and choice allowed have revived my passion for learning and inspired me to hack my own education. I believe that Except Academy can provide me with valuable tools to create the change I want to see in this world. In addition, the multidisciplinary aspect of Except enables to be in contact with a great range of networks and the opportunity to explore new talents."

My experience at Except Academy

by Antonia Sore | Master Sustainable Architecture | University of Florence

Before coming to the Except, I knew I wasn’t gonna find a typical work space but I didn’t know what to expect exactly. My doubts grew as I received our first bibliography assignment. At the beginning I was a bit shocked by the contents, and slowly with reading it my confusion and excitement grew.

Finally the first day came and I met my coaches and teammates. Now when I look back at the first week, I can tell you it was a week full of contradictory emotions and surprises.

The thing I love about Except Academy is that it opens a new world where everything is fresh and different, the things you thought you knew are questioned and you discover them from the new perspectives.

At the beginning I was completely out of my comfort zone, and I still am, but it’s growing on me, and every week that comes is full of new surprises and challenges that I fear and cherish at the same time.

We are growing and always learning not only from a professional point of view, but most importantly life lessons that can’t be learned at any school. We are learning to think with our head, out of the box, not to apply simple procedures, in short to question everything to the point where we don’t look at the same thing from all the possible angels.

We work in an international and interdisciplinary group, that sometimes can be difficult, but it’s always interesting and surprising. We challenge ourselves, our habits and our fears and help each other to grow.

Now we are only at the beginning of this experience, and I am looking forward to every step in front of us. Don’t know where will it take us, but it’s not gonna be an ordinary path taken so many times before because there’s nothing ordinary about Except…

My Experience at Except Academy

by Maarten Bruinsma | Master Industrial Ecology | University of Delft

Except Academy has been an interesting experience so far. After only three weeks I can say that certain aspects of the project have been very enjoyable, while other parts have been surprising.

The project topic itself fully coincides with my early expectations, since it is an investigation into the area Zevenkamp where sustainable solutions opportunities will be constructed. This is why I joined the internship and I am still very enthusiastic about the project’s objective. I am also very satisfied with my fellow project members, since common goals are shared but views on problems and solutions differ due to the interdisciplinary nature of the group. We have all noticed a plethora of information is available on Zevenkamp, which makes gathering information less complicated. A side note here is that not everyone can have an equal share in this initial research, due to the fact that nearly all municipal information is in Dutch. However, plenty of information on precedents and other subjects are English and therefore accessible to everyone.

Another very positive factor is that many stakeholders involved with Zevenkamp seem to be enthusiastic about the projects and so far have all been very helpful. Especially employees of the borough of Prins Alexander and residents of Centraal Wonen Zevenkamp have welcomed the initiative with enthusiasm and have introduced us to other potentially interesting projects and organisations. The Residents of Zevenkamp have not yet been approached though, since our research has shown that they have been questioned vigorously over the last few years and have proven to be less cooperative due to the lack of actions resulting from their input. We are currently brainstorming about how to approach them, and the first direct encounter with many residents has taken place during the neighbours day on Saturday September 27th.

The project’s structure and methodology deviated from my expectations. While I am enjoying the level of freedom we are presented with and see great value in weekly workshops, I expected more direct involvement from Except in the project itself. Where I was counting on long working hours at the Rotterdam Collective with direct support and input from both mentors and employees, we are left free to decide our own schedule, work place and even our research method. This surprised me, since I was anticipating more intensive guidance by experienced professionals with regards to the methodologies and instruments we have at our disposal to carry out the project. We are by no means experienced in carrying out research and creating project proposals and even though our learning curve is currently steep, the project feels like a regular academic project, rather than like a project where new experiences and knowledge are gained.

At this point in time this is neither positive nor negative, since it is much too early to decide if this approach is better or worse than my expectations. We are merely in the research phase and have only just started to hypothesise about possible trends and networks present in the raw data. We have also yet to participate in a SiD session, from which I expect to gain a lot of knowledge and insights. We are now starting to moving away from pure research and will begin to actively map our findings and have SiD sessions. Because of this I think the method and structure with which we work will change, which is already happening since we have recently received instructions on how to better organise ourselves and our meeting, and have scheduled a meeting to redefine our goals and get familiar with SiD. I am therefore very much looking forward to this meeting and to the rest of the internship

My Experience at Except Academy

by Renée Theunissen | Master Earth Sciences | University of Amsterdam

Being an intern at Except includes learning a lot about different specific areas, such as water-management and politics, urban development, stakeholder management, biodiversity and the city, and smart cities and mobility, which makes it interesting and diverse. In addition, you are able to develop and refine skills such as visualization and writing. The knowledge and skills developed in workshops can (in-)directly be applied to the the Except Academy project, which make you able to put them into practice and get the most out of it.


Nov. 6, 2014