This week's WUB is a special introduction edition, especially for the LUW's eight hundred first-year students.
With the introduction of a questionnaire a year ago, WAU students have been able to make an appraisal of their courses. This includes textbooks, readers, the lecturers' performance and examination results. If a certain aspect scores forty-five percent or more dissatisfaction, the lecturer can be asked to improve his performance. But there were hardly any complaints about the preliminary year courses, the test reveals. Another consolation, first-year students need not worry about that notorious stumbling block, the Mathematics course during the propaedeuse.
PhD student Violeta Traicevski has been unable to find smoked oysters in one of Wageningen's supermarkets. Supermarkets here are much more expensive than in Australia, she explains. Students like cheap food, but can also afford high-quality ready-to-eat products, superstore managers explain. Although they buy a great deal of pasta, maize and beans, expensive fair-trade coffee and special fruit juices are also within their budget. Students rarely buy beer in supermarkets, as a local liquor store delivers it to their door.
Bankers have discovered first-year students, offering them free credit cards, low interest rates and favourable insurances. What do they find so interesting in a student population whose grants have been reduced to less than five hundred guilders a month? They reason that today's students, although still doing unskilled jobs to supplement their bursaries are going to be a potential and lucrative market.
Most Dutch students stay with their own family doctor and dentist when they start their studies in Wageningen. If there are problems, they assume that student doctor Andre Godkewitsch can treat them, but he is not a family G.P. He only treats complaints which are directly related to one's studies, like sleeping disorders or vaccinations before going abroad. So his advice is to have a family doctor in Wageningen as well.
Student unions in the Netherlands fear that the decreasing numbers of freshmen and the tough study results required by the Dutch government will jeopardize their existance. But in Wageningen more first-year students have become member of a student union than last year. Organising activities at a student union takes time, the new members explain, but the older students at the union familiarize them with the in's and out's of university life. Social activities during one's studies also boosts one's curriculum vitae, they explain.
Dutch Minister of Education, Ritzen intends to abolish university councils. He wants advisory boards instead at the university. The councils are currently responsible for the university's budget, educational and research programmes. Ritzen wants the Executive Boards to be responsible for that in the future. A small Advisory Board with external experts should control the Boards.