A record number of 496 WUR students applied for an exchange program in the next academic year. This is an increase of 7 percent compared to the current academic year. Out of the applicants, 469 students were selected to visit a partner university. 50 applicants were master’s students and the rest were bachelor’s students.
The number of exchange applications at WUR has been increasing rapidly for the past years. However, it seems that the growth is now slowing down; the growth rate of 7 percent is significantly lower compared to the 26 percent for the previous two periods. The number of incoming exchange students also seems to have stabilised with 346 students in 2016-2017 and 337 in 2015-2016.
Exchange programmes have become an integral part of university education worldwide. Wageningen University also surges ahead in this with more than 171 partner universities providing opportunities for student exchange. Of the 171 partners, 33 are non-EU universities.
The exchange destinations in highest demand by WUR students are Ireland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The number of applications to the Universities in Asia and Latin America is still low.
The schools in high demand among the applicants are University of Cork with 2 positions, University of Copenhagen with 7 and University of British Columbia with 8 positions. The university with highest number of seats is Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway which offers 33 seats. This makes it one of the most popular destinations among the EU universities.
According to Esther Heemskerk, who is the WUR Institutional Exchange Coordinator, ‘the current application season was successful in placing about 95 percent of the total applicants in their preferred universities.’ The season also witnessed a fall in the applications to universities in Turkey. ‘Political turmoil and instability in the country might have reduced the confidence of students to apply there.’