Meeting Dutch students

Eline is an ambassador for WilWeg and has lived in South Africa and Italy. Now she is studying at Radboud University and picked an international master. She introduces herself and the Dutch in her blog.

Posted by Eline van Staveren - WilWeg Student Ambassador - Radboud University Nijmegen at Dec 09, 2018 08:54 PM

My name is Eline. I am 23 years old and during my study I met many international students, both when I was one myself and at the university in the Netherlands. I have had class with international students many times and I have even given seminars to international students. In this short blog, I will therefore try to answer the question “How is the contact with Dutch students?”.

I would like to start with a personal observation based on my experiences as an international student. Our educational system in the Netherlands is quite unique. Being one of the world’s top countries for equal educational opportunities, we have many different kind of schools and many educational levels. Dutch school are also legally obliged to teach children the English language from the age of about 10 years. Therefore, international students do not have to worry about communicating with Dutch fellow students if you do not speak Dutch. You can always talk to them in English. And as far as education itself is concerned: some subjects are taught in Dutch, but there are also a lot of subjects in English that you can choose.

For example, my master is given entirely in English. I study internationally oriented public administration and had class with various international students. I personally consider international students to be a valuable addition in class. Public administration differs from country to country and I can therefore learn a lot from the input of international students. I also saw this when I gave seminars in European Governance. A French international student then regularly gave extra information about the French attitude towards the EU. I also find it important that students learn to work together with students from different cultures. The world in which we live is increasingly globalizing and it is therefore becoming an increasingly relevant skill.

However, I would like to add some realism. Dutch students are like any other student in any other country. They may ask you where you come from and whether you like it in the Netherlands, but they will not want to be friends with you just because you are an international student. In the end, it is all about who you are as a person. But if you need help or want to know something, you can always ask, because we find you interesting and are pretty damn proud of our little country!

Posted by Eline van Staveren - WilWeg Student Ambassador - Radboud University Nijmegen at Dec 09, 2018 08:54 PM