Science - January 8, 2004

Speelman encourages international students to join in debates

University rector Professor Bert Speelman called upon Dutch and international students to work together to solve problems and create and lively student community. Speelman was speaking at the New Year’s reception of the student council.

Wageningen has the highest percentage of international students of all Dutch universities, Speelman noted in his speech, and by and large the students get on well. “Nevertheless it is only recently that both Dutch and international students have joined together for lectures, and sometimes this leads to problems. The Executive Board recognises these problems and acknowledges its responsibility concerning the issue.” Speelman suggested that Dutch students have a tendency to jump into a discussion without having all the facts at their fingertips. International students may remain silent, but that does not necessarily mean that their English is not good enough. “I would like to encourage the international students to join in debates, and not to be afraid to interrupt lecturers with comments. You don’t have to worry that you will offend teachers,” he said. Speelman also praised the Catholic student association Sint Franciscus Xaverius for its move to set up an international section, adding that the Executive Board will support this kind of initiative. | G.v.H.