Despite efforts to encourage more Dutch students to spend part of their university time abroad, only about 2.4% actually do so, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
The introduction of a three-year bachelor’s degree and one or two year master’s seven years ago was supposed to make it easier for students to travel. But the percentage of students going abroad has remained virtually unchanged.
In total, some 14,000 Dutch students a year spend time studying abroad while 50,000 foreign students take courses in the Netherlands, according to figures from higher education body Nuffic.
The main reasons so many students prefer to stay in the Netherlands are that universities don’t like it, that it is complicated to arrange and that students prefer their comfortable lives in Holland, the paper says.
Daan Oudbier, student adviser at Tilburg University, told the paper that it is up to students themselves to look at the opportunities open to them abroad. ‘If someone shows the ambition then we will help them. But it does require a lot of red tape, so it asks a lot of a student’s motivation and independence.’
A period spent abroad is also good for career prospects, said Twente University student Hidde Terpoorten. ‘It is good for your language skills, your knowledge of other cultures and your independence. More and more companies want international experience,’ he said.
Students are content to stay in Holland because ‘they are happy at their university, in their clubs, in their sports team, in their bars and with their friends. They don’t find it easy to leave all that behind,’ he told the paper.
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