Majority of international students is still planning to come to the Netherlands next year

28 May 2020

International students who were planning to come to the Netherlands next year, face many concerns because of the corona crisis. Still, the majority wants to make the trip and universities should give them clarity, states internationalisation organisation Nuffic in a report.

International students are still interested in coming to The Netherlands, but because of the corona crisis, there are many uncertainties for them. Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, asked 941 potential students to fill in a survey about their plans. They were all from outside the EU. Nuffic published its findings this week, in a report called How is COVID-19 affecting international students’ plans to study in the Netherlands?

Of the respondents, 24% says they think they have to cancel their plans to come, 36% is not sure yet and 40% of them think they can still make the trip. The main uncertainties for the students revolve around travel restrictions, the availability of scholarships, visa procedures, and concerns about personal health.


Nuffic approached students through their NESO offices, which stands for Netherlands Education Support Offices, so most of them (67%) were already interested in The Netherlands. ‘We conducted the survey because we want to help Dutch education institutions to form an image of what they can expect next year and how they can prepare for that,’ says Jeroen Wienen, spokesman for Nuffic.

Wienen says that universities have been doing well by digitalising education and trying to keep international students involved. ‘But studying abroad is more than just education. A lecture through Zoom is not the same as seeing people in a classroom,’ he says. ‘We applaud the blended internationalisation, a form where an international student can come to the country where they want to study and take their classes partially online, partially in an actual classroom.’

Foreign currency

International students face different problems during the crisis. ‘They are an exceptional group,’ says Wienen. ‘For example, when an international student loses a side job, he or she can also lose their health insurance and student loans.’ Another thing is that some foreign currency is worth less relative to the euro. That can also cause problems when financing your studies.

Because the majority of the prospective students still wants to start in September, universities should provide clarity about their plans for the beginning of the academic year, Nuffic states in their report: ‘Clarity on when and how the new academic year will start and on any specific requirements or conditions that will apply because of lockdowns and preventive measures will be crucial.’

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