Walk into a random lecture room and there is a large chance that you will find a German, Belgian or Chinese person in the room. Never before were there as many international students in the Netherlands.
Almost 75 thousand international students are following a full bachelor or master here, the internationalization organization EP-Nuffic reports. Almost one out of seven first year students come from abroad (13,8 percent). In 2006 this was only one out of twelve (8,4 percent).
Frontrunner is still the University of Maastricht, with 54 percent international students: six thousand in the bachelors and another 2.500 in the masters.
Also elsewhere the international student is no longer an exception. At the university of Wageningen, Delft, Twente and Rotterdam one out of every five students come from abroad. And this number is on the rise.
There is especially an increase in the eleven countries where the EP-Nuffic has so-called NESO offices, a kind of embassy for higher education. ‘Good promotion is really important’, says Freddy Weima. ‘We should not only hand out folders. At information days abroad we like to bring along alumni that can explain how it really is here.’
The vast majority of the international students (more than 22.000) are from Germany, although this is less than previously. Also China (4.342 students), Belgium (2.668) and Italy (2.618) are well represented.
‘If only Germans were to come, that would not be good’, says Weima. ‘It is about the international classroom. For Dutch students the international curriculum offers a more intensive learning experience. They are forced into intercultural communication. Meanwhile, the educational institutions have understood that they should not just attract international students, but only talented international students. Which will really improve the level of education.’
For the figure fanatics the definition of ‘international student’ is interesting: this is a student that comes here from abroad. This can also be Dutch people that have grown up abroad. Vice versa, people from Germany and Belgium that have lived here for years are not counted in the statistics. The roughly fifteen thousand exchange students were not counted.