Student - June 22, 2017

International students lack support


Inaccessible language courses, high rents, poor communication from the government and stagnating integration. These are issues that are widely felt by international students in Wageningen, as evidenced on Wednesday evening at a meeting of the new political party Connect Wageningen in Impulse.

© Sven Menschel

Connect Wageningen had convened the meeting to gather ideas for the programme that the party wants to use when participating in city council elections in March 2018. Party member Romy Stijsiger introduced a number of subjects and speakers and then the audience was given the chance to express their views. Students exchanged personal experiences that were sometimes only vaguely related to the subject introduced by Stijsiger. The discussion wove its way through various problems.

The emphasis was on the opinions of international students, which Connect Wageningen thinks are hardly recognized by the city. Those present admitted that they do not always feel as if people take them into consideration. ‘If Wageningen University actively recruits international students, they also have to support them in other areas,’ one of the students stated.

The city government has to make it easy for international students to live here
Mark Reijerman

Several of those present said that the Dutch language courses are both expensive and inaccessible. International graduate students also find it very difficult to find an affordable flat. And there is a need for better integration with other students and with the local community. The last topic mentioned was the communication in Dutch by authorities. This is not in keeping with the international character of Wageningen, concluded chairperson Mark Reijerman. ‘The city government has to make it easy for international students to live here.’

The party is going to categorize the problems discussed, draw up a plan and begin discussions with diverse parties. It should be noted that Connect Wageningen is for both international and Dutch students. Stijsiger: ‘We’ll be organizing meetings on various subjects more often in the future to chart which issues are important to students in Wageningen.’

Re:actions 1

  • .

    Not only the municipality has to take ownership of matter, but also the WUR. Both have to commit and invest time, expertise and money to facilitate a more inclusieve city where locals, students and the international communities can connect with each other more easily when they desire to. Also students, international communities and locals have to take ownership if they want to connect and participate. I know that some of these communities are thight-knit and Sometimes difficult to get in touch with. This counts for the Dutch as the international students and locals. Please be aware of your own responsability too.

    I also wonder if Connect is aware that there are several local organisations working together to adress some of issues mentioned in the discussions. They are working very hard for an inclusive city where all citizens feel part of and can participate in. They do this with special attention to the struggles of international students. This happens without a structural investment of the WUR and some small investments of the municipality. So maybe Connect (or the student council) could adress the relation between WUR/students and the city and ask how the WUR wants to contribute to a more inclusive city.

    • Saffiera

      Dutch courses is only 90e per level.
      I dont think its expensive compare to the original price 270e.
      However indeed for some international students it is more important to be fashionable and chic as they come to europe than investing in their brain.
      So i dont think that complain is relevant.
      And regarding to housing.. i still say tht housing in wageningen is still far below compare to Amsterdam and den haag student housing..

      So i am not really sure on how cheap u guys want???
      850e/month should be enough for living n pay for dutch course.