The Class of 2020: The Netherlands Regional Session
This time, the regional session was held in Amsterdam. The theme was “The City and The Campus: Time to Invest in Talent”.
Continue reading through this blog to find out more about the event!
The panel discussion focused on attracting talented international students and expats while also managing and improving retention. It’s clear that a lot of international students move to the Netherlands for higher quality education degree programs, but the figure tends to drop in terms of retention. Alongside having a strong figure of internationals, massive problems with student accommodation arise when students are forced to find their own accommodation with insignificant help from their universities. For universities outside the Netherlands, it is very common that their campuses have private student accommodation facilities for their students. However, most Dutch higher education institutions do not comply with the same procedure. This distinction must be portrayed more appropriately to internationals who tend to see this as a shock upon approaching the start of their semesters.
“Invest in building cheaper housing which can be lived in by people on temporary contracts, as well as allowing flat sharing. Build more purpose-built student housing without forming ghettos and provide basic amenities”
- Robin Pascoe, Owner and editor of Dutchnews.nl
Another vital issue on hand revolved around rising rental prices for private housing and student accommodation. After the session, we had the opportunity to talk to Robin Pascoe, the owner and editor of dutchnews.nl, who was also one of the panel speakers at the session. When asked about the issue of rising rental prices, she stated: “Invest in building cheaper housing which can be lived in by people on temporary contracts, as well as allowing flat sharing. Build more purpose-built student housing without forming ghettos and provide basic amenities.” This is definitely one way to tackle this issue. Many students turn to temporary housing facilities for affordability purposes. Flat sharing is also very beneficial. Sharing the rent of an entire apartment/house is a much cheaper option for students, whilst also enjoying the social company of their flat mates at home.
“It depends on where the internationals come from. The most common issue is the culture. The Dutch are very direct and open. It is important that internationals learn more about Dutch culture in advance.”
- Sander Lapré, the Director Shared Services at Hotelschool The Hague
Another matter discussed during the session was integration of international students and expats into Dutch society. We also spoke with another member of the panel speakers, Sander Lapré, the Director Shared Services at Hotelschool The Hague. When asked about the divide between the Dutch and internationals, Sander stated: “It depends on where the internationals come from. The most common issue is culture. The Dutch are very direct and open. It is important that internationals learn more about Dutch culture in advance.” The culture differences are pretty clear. Internationals commonly tend to socialize more with people from similar cultures or other internationals. This raises concern considering that getting along with the Dutch is a necessary part of integrating into the society they live in.
Finally, the topic of supply/demand of student housing was also highlighted during another panel discussion in this session. The Netherlands has seen various nation-wide investments in student housing in order to improve the level of supply. Out of a total 692,000 students enrolled in higher education programs, approximately 49% of them live away from home, clearly depicting the high level of demand for student housing. Although such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden, and Delft possess the highest student populations, they also go on record for having the highest shortages in housing. However, these shortages are expected to significantly decrease in the coming years. Other cities such as Utrecht and Groningen are expected to see surpluses in housing in the coming years, providing an incentive for internationals to pursue living in cities besides the larger ones.
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