New internationals worry: Will they be able to finish their studies in Groningen?

Prospective international students are wondering if they should still come to the Netherlands. They are concerned about the Internationalisation in Balance Act.

‘Will life for an international in the Netherlands become a nightmare in the coming years?’ asks Roxana in a WhatsApp group for Romanian students in Groningen. After Germany, Romania is the largest ‘supplier’ of international students.

Roxana has just finished high school and wants to study biomedical engineering at the UG, starting in September. However, she has read the ‘grim news’ in the media in her home country that the new government plans to limit the influx of foreign students, and it has made her second-guess her decision.

DUO grant

Her concerns are also financial; the penalty for extended study and the tuition fees. ‘And the tightening of the measures to access the DUO grant is another personal concern of mine’, she adds.

Other students in the group reassured her, convincing her to give Groningen a chance. But this doesn’t make her any less worried. ‘I think these plans might consciously or subconsciously increase the level of xenophobia in Dutch society,’ she explains.

‘I don’t necessarily worry about how I will be received by the university, as the academic environment usually seems quite welcoming. I have a few worries about society in general, though.’

Master’s degree

Clara, another prospective biomedical engineering student, also expresses her concerns about the government’s plans in the WhatsApp group. ‘I’m afraid that I might not have the opportunity to finish my studies here, to do a master’s and a PhD’, she says.

She feels the sudden change in attitude towards international students is quite odd. ‘I understand that citizens protest because of the high rental prices, but international students also bring in a lot of money’, she says. ‘Even so, I believe that my generation and the next have caught the last train to study here.’

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