• For Eunice and Carlos failure is not an option

    Getting a scholarship to study abroad sounds great. But it can also be the cause for lot’s of stress and pressure. ‘It feels like my whole life depends on it. I don’t even want to think about what happens if I lose my grant.’

    Eunice Ruiz Navarro (28) is a Mexican student currently doing a Master in Neuroscience. Her 13.000 euro tuition fee is being paid for by the Mexican government. In return, they want excellence. An eight average on every course. If her grades are lower, her grant will be suspended. ‘If that happens, I would have to go back to my country and face my friends, my family and myself with a feeling of failure. This is key for my future. I don’t even want to think about it, it would be so bad.’

    It is never easy to be a stranger in a strange land. Adapting to a new way of live, alone and abroad, is hard. Mexico City and Groningen are a world apart. Eunice had troubles adapting to her new life in the Netherlands. Over the past six months, she failed to get the grades necessary. She is now fighting to keep her grant. ‘The government acknowledges that it is hard. They kind of understand how difficult it is for us.’


    ‘I have not been lazy. I studied hard’, explains Carlos Amaro (26, Biochemical Engineer). He too failed to get the grades required in the first months of his stay. And as Eunice, he fears that his grant will be suspended because of it. ‘I can understand the part of the government’, he says. ‘They are paying a lot of money and they need to be sure that the money that they are investing is well spent. They are not paying for me to just party or something.’

    Carlos is currently trying to convince his government not to suspend his  grant. ‘I am not doing bad, I think. I am averaging a seven, which is considered to be decent. That is what I need to explain.’

    Carlos expects to keep his grant. And even if they suspend it for six months, he will continue his study. ‘I have savings. I worked for a year and a half in Mexico before coming here. If they take my grant, I can pay the rent and buy food.’

    The real problem comes next September, with the payment of the tuition fee. Then he really needs his scholarship. ‘The grant adds pressure. I must get high grades in the upcoming months.’


    Before arriving in the Netherlands, neither Eunice nor Carlos foresaw any problems fulfilling the grade requirements. Eunice: ‘I thought I would be as good as I used to be in Mexico, you know. I always used to be the best in my class. I got the grant, which says something, right? I thought I would be better, but I failed. This has been very difficult for me.’

    Her scholarship adds to the pressure. ‘It is definitely an extra amount of stress. Maybe if I think rationally, it is not a big deal. Just fill in a form, take it to the coordinator, and get a sign. But it is just the stress in your mind that your whole life depends on it.’

    Carlos: ‘I feel like I have to defend myself for my grades, over and over again. Why did you get the 7.5 and not the 8? Not to one person, but to a lot of people. That is stressful. Explain myself, defend myself.’

    Eunice and Carlos are both positive about the upcoming months. They both think they stand a fair chance to keep their scholarship. And they have both fully adapted to their new environment. ‘For the next courses, I feel much better prepared’, Carlos says. ‘More confident. I am already in the system. I know how it works and I feel really well now.’

    Eunice: ‘Things are definitely looking better now. I am still afraid to think too much about the future, but in the end I will be fine. It is going to be a lot of hard work, but I will improve.’