Education Minister Bussemaker is aiming to retain talented international students in the Netherlands following their graduation. Such students can play an important role in improving the overall standard, and will not only boost academic success rates, but also the international character of the Dutch higher education system. Furthermore they can provide valuable skills to our labour market.
Based on the Make it in The Netherlands action plan, Minister Bussemaker is hoping to instil a sense of commitment to our country in the students. Even during the course of their studies, students should be brought into contact with potential employers. In accordance with the recommendations issued by the Social and Economic Council, students should be provided with better information on career opportunities in the Netherlands and be offered language courses.
Research shows that 70% of international students would like to stay in the Netherlands following graduation, whereas only some 27% actually do. One of the main factors involved in the decision to leave or stay is the language barrier. International students generally do not need to learn to speak Dutch as most Dutch people have a good command of English. However, if they actually want to stay here to work, they will often need to learn the language.
In the Netherlands, too, Dutch and international students live in more or less parallel worlds. The way to improve this situation is by having a better mix of nationalities in student accommodation, and by assigning Dutch buddies to help international students become acquainted with our culture. In addition, the Dutch Ministry is urging improved access to information, for instance by drawing the students’ attention to the possibility of study grants on grantfinder.nl. Careerinholland.nl will be the source of information regarding career opportunities in the Netherlands, courses and job openings, as well as a unique source for international entrepreneurs to draw on.
The hope is that regional collaboration between universities, universities of applied sciences, and business & industry will offer international students more internships and part-time jobs. Lastly the Ministry has promised to simplify the inevitable paperwork and, if at all possible, keep red tape to a minimum.