The medical bachelor is offered in both Dutch and English. The master, however, is only available in Dutch. Students who didn’t do their training in Dutch and who want to join the medical master have to pass a level B2 Dutch course. This makes them ‘independent users’. They can understand films, follow complex arguments, and have discussions.
Unfortunately, this level has proved insufficient, says Remco Bezema at the UMCG’s educational institute. ‘Both students and lecturers in the master programme are saying that the current level of Dutch proficiency for international students isn’t good enough’, he says. ‘The students especially are suffering from this.’
Dutch proficiency at a C1 level makes people ‘proficient users’. Students can then understand less clearly structured arguments, have complex discussions, and read various literary styles.
The students at the international programme, who are mainly from Saudi Arabia, are personally responsible for keeping their Dutch proficiency up to date. For many of them, this new rule means they will have to take an extra course at the RUG Language Centre, for which students have to pay 359 euros.
Student Sayyed Hashim Al-Taaha, who has already joined the master, doesn’t think the language barrier will be solved by people taking another course. ‘It increases people’s vocabulary and their writing skills, but the problem lies in communication. And you can only train that by practising.’
He experiences very few problems at the hospital. ‘I almost always understand what’s being said. I only have trouble when people have a Frisian or Groningen accent.’