Science - February 3, 2005

Wageningen popular with Greeks

The number of Greek enrolments at the university has risen sharply this year. Instead of the usual ten or so per year, there were thirty-eight new students from Greece this year.

Christiaan Loef is account manager for Greece in the department of Education Marketing. He sees the rise in numbers as evidence of the success of the ‘country action plan’ that the university started last year. ‘We launched a concerted effort to integrate different recruitment instruments. These include visiting education fairs, adverts and approaching the alumni networks in different countries. The Greek student association here, Evropi, has also played an active role. We also examined whether there were any barriers to mobility that we could reduce, for example as far as diploma recognition is concerned. The bachelor-master structure has now been introduced in Greece, and this has made things easier.’

Anastasia Meimaridou is a first-year Master’s student in Food Safety. ‘The main reasons for Greeks to go abroad for their masters is the unemployment at home and the inability of Greek universities to organise enough master programmes for those who want to continue their studies. You need high qualifications if you are to stand a chance of getting a good job.’

She continues, ‘Most Greek students go to the UK, but some are looking for something different. Wageningen has a good reputation; in my subject area the university is one of the top in Europe. But believe me, the number of Greek students here could be much higher if there were not the problems of the degree being recognised by the Greek authorities. I know several students who wanted to come here but they hesitated for the above reason.’

According to Loef the problems of diploma recognition have already been solved. The university is due start a similar campaign in Spain next year. / JH

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