Science - June 1, 2006

Stricter rules for Erasmus students

The rector, Professor Martin Kropff, announced back in February that the number of Erasmus students wanting to come to Wageningen is so high that the university cannot deal with the inflow. Stricter selection, spreading the arrival times, and rules for allotting rooms should help solve the problems. The university expects that these measures will halve the intake.

The large influx of exchange students at the start of this academic year led to accommodation problems. There was no longer a room available for each student, and as a result several tens of students were told at the last minute that they would have to arrange accommodation themselves.

Erasmus coordinator in Wageningen, Esther Heemskerk: ‘A few years ago there were about a hundred exchange students each year, now there are five hundred. As only fifty to a hundred students from Wageningen go abroad each year, this results in a shortage of rooms. That’s why we started to think about how we could deal with the intake more smoothly.’

To start with, Wageningen wants to have exchange agreements with fewer universities and be stricter in its selection. Heemskerk: ‘At present we have a situation where some of the students who come speak bad English and don’t get many passes in the subjects they take. We think it’s important that the exchange students can keep up with the teaching; after all they are here to study. Much of the teaching is done in groups and they must not become a hindrance to the regular students. We want to encourage students whose background knowledge fits well with our programmes to come to Wageningen, the rest we’d rather not have.’

The students who fulfil the requirements will be divided into five categories on the basis of type and length of their exchange. For each of the categories, quotas have been set for the number of students who may join in each period. In addition, the number of rooms available for each category has been determined. This will have consequences above all for the students who come to Wageningen for a short stay of four to six months. Wageningen University has reserved thirty rooms per year for the students in this group who come from partner universities. Students from other universities may only start in March or May, and then they stand a chance of being allotted a reserved room.

The Erasmus contact persons will decide which applicants get priority in each of the categories, together with the people in charge of the study programmes. Students who come to Wageningen for a research exchange will have to be housed by the relevant chair group. These measures are expected to halve the numbers of exchange students coming to Wageningen. Heemskerk stresses that students who fulfil the requirements are very welcome in Wageningen. / JH

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