Organisatie - 5 februari 2009

INTERNATIONAL WAGENINGEN I

In Resource 15 I read: ‘The traditional student societies tend to be geared to local students. And the same goes for most study associations.’ The impression is then given that internationalization is only going well in Aktief Slip. I don’t think this impression is correct. Of the sixteen study associations, six have an English-language website only, six provide the option of English pages, and four have a Dutch site only. My study association sends its international members an English agenda for meetings, but I’ve never seen a single one of them at a meeting. I therefore think the idea of a quota of Dutch students on boards is a bad one. It’s already hard enough work to galvanize Dutch members into action.
Study associations are trying hard to attract international students, with special integration committees and activities and big efforts to translate everything into English. Most study associations are in fact specifically targeting foreign students and integration.
I am also a member of one of the three traditional student societies and it is true that we have few international students. Just like students who come from the professional universities, international students are difficult to recruit as they are only here for their Masters and don’t feel like going through the introduction along with BSc students who are at least three years younger. As long as the BSc courses remain open only to Dutch students, this is not going to change much. And still, we do advertise our parties and our catering in English too, and we have a committee that works on international activities. In fact, the other student societies have even more trouble attracting international students. Most non-western students have other religions and customs, and this can be tricky for Christian societies. And it’s even harder for regional societies such as the BSG and the Friesian society. Then again, there are of course societies such as CASSW (run by and for Chinese students) which are specifically for one nationality – that’s not international either.

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