Now that the Rijnveste housing complex is finished, housing provider Idealis is starting to put its choice policy into practice. First-years, older students, international students and PhDs can now choose their complex themselves. Eventually this will put an end to international enclaves such as Beringhem and the Bornsesteeg. But do international students actually want to live among the Dutch?
PhD Climate Studies, from Portugal, Bornsesteeg
'Of course I would like to live with Dutch students; I think it would be more balanced. People told me that it also helps the international students to integrate better and to me that makes sense. I didn't know about the policy of Idealis to only allow international students in Bornsesteeg. I heard from friends that it used to be like this but now they are changing it. I have to confess I never wondered why there are no Dutch students in Bornsesteeg. I thought it was normal since there are so many international students in Wageningen.'
Msc Marketing and Economics, from the Czech Republic, studenthouse Beurredeux
'I don't think it matters which nationality you live with, but the kind of people you meet is more important. I used to live in a corridor with six Dutch people, and that was a real pain in the ass. First of all they did not really talk to me. Also it felt like they were a small community and they were not party people at all. When I moved in I made a traditional Czech dinner to meet the people, but still they only spoke Dutch, so that's why I decided to move out. A friend told me about this place, that there are some internationals living here but mostly Dutch people. This house is just perfect as we have dinners together and we have way more in common compared to my previous house.'
Erasmus student of Climate Studies, from the Czech Republic, Beringhem
'I think the real question is whether the Dutch students want to live with international students. Sometimes during classes it seems that for the Dutch it is more convenient to only talk to each other. I don't think I'm the only one who has this experience. I would appreciate having more Dutch students coming here, because otherwise we feel a bit isolated. Now that I live in the Netherlands it would be natural to have contact with Dutch people. It can be very beneficial to have Dutch students here because we receive many official letters in Dutch and nobody can understand the contents. It would be great if they could help us with that!'
Thibault De Moor
BSc Plant Sciences, from Belgium, Beringhem
'I prefer to live with international students because it widens my horizons and I learn more from it. Coming from Belgium, the Netherlands is not all that exotic for me. I like living here but it would be fun too if there were a few Dutch students living here. But for me the most important thing is diversity. Almost all my classmates are Dutch, so I get enough contact with Dutch students. I met most of my friends at Beringhem, but we are going to have to leave here next year. I would like a garden so I hope to get a room at Droevendaal. But I think that will be difficult.'
MSc Geo-Information science, from Romania, Haarweg
'For me living with Dutch people is the best thing that could happen to me. In the beginning it was a bit weird because I didn't understand any Dutch. We had a barbeque for the newcomers, organized by the guys who were already living here. Everybody was speaking Dutch, also the girl from Belgium because she already knew Dutch from before. They were laughing and making jokes, but I didn't understand anything. They didn't do it on purpose I think, they were just used to speak Dutch. We have a very active corridor as we are having dinners and parties together all the time. Spending time together helped me learn Dutch and now I can already understand and speak Dutch. When I had a bike accident last December they really took great care of me. I couldn't move my arm for month and also I was unable to eat solid food. They did all the groceries for me and they even made me smoothies, that was just awesome!'
MSc Organic agriculture, from Italy, Droevendaal
'I lived with Dutch students in a private house before. It was good, but also it was very different compared to the place I come from in Italy. The timing was very different as the housemates were having dinner at six in the evening, which was quite tough. Everything was scheduled, you had to write down your name for each day if you wanted to join the dinner or be the cook. Of course this can be useful, but I'm used to more spontaneous stuff. When I come out of the university I like to call some friends to have a dinner together. Here at Droevendaal it is much more like I'm used to. We are with two Dutch and four international students, but the people are much more flexible.'