Wetenschap - 6 september 2001

Wageningen University expects record number international students

Wageningen University expects record number international students

Wageningen University expects between 250 and 300 freshmen for the international MSc courses, a record number. Over the last three years the number of new enrolments for the international programmes has doubled.

Vice-chancellor Bert Speelman proudly presented the figures at the opening ceremony of the new academic year last Monday. Internationalisation is one of the major issues of university policy. Wageningen was the first university in the Netherlands to adopt the internationally accepted Bachelor-Masters system, and it is already showing its success. Last year for example, agreements were signed with Chinese universities. As a result about 200 Chinese undergraduate students are expected to come to Wageningen, in two years' time, to obtain a Bachelors degree. In the coming years Wageningen also plans to gain a foothold in South-America as well.

One of the reasons for the internationalisation policy is the steady decline in the number of Dutch students since the 1980s. Agriculture has a dull image among young Dutch college graduates. It is associated mainly with environmental problems and animal diseases like BSE and foot-and-mouth disease. Hopeful for Wageningen is that this year the number of new Dutch students showed a small increase as well as the international numbers. Wageningen University expects just over 700 Dutch freshmen.

Korn? Versluis

On the map of the world you can see where the international freshmen come from. The numbers are based on a overview from the university administration published on 3 September. The numbers are not definite yet: it is not yet certain whether all applicants will manage to arrive, especially from China, India and Nigeria, hence the two dotted lines on the graph. Nevertheless, new students are still enroling every day.

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