Just one year abroad. Another culture, another university, another experience. This is something every student should do. The Kia-foto 2012 (Knowledge and Innovation Agenda) report shows that fewer students dare to step outside of the Netherlands. It is a worrying development, according to the Nederlandse Wereldwijde Studenten (NEWS).
According to Kia, the goal for the 2020 is that 35% of the graduates will follow their training abroad. But so far it doesn;t look good. The flow of Dutch students going abroad is in stagnation. Bas van Schaik, a chairman of NEWS, estimates that currently between 15,000 and 20,000 Dutch students follow their training abroad. It’s not very much, and it is not getting any better.
“We hoped to improve the situation, but we were well aware that the recent austerity measures probably will have a negative effect. That is very disappointing, certainly worse than expected,” says van Schaik.
Well, studying abroad can be fun, no doubts about that. But why is it important for a society that many students leave their motherland for some time? Van Schaik: “Studying abroad broadens your horizons because you come in contact with another culture and another language. It also provides an opportunity to get to know someone at the absolute top of your field of study, which in the Netherlands is not always possible. This is very valuable for broadening and deepening for the Dutch business, and it is almost obligatory for students who aspire for an academic career abroad.”
Van Schaik is trying to change things for better. Last December, in consultation with State News Zijlstra, NEWS foundation tried to accomplish two things. Firstly, it hopes for scholarship and / or loan programs financing Dutch students’ study abroad. And secondly, to provide more guidance from the Dutch universities. Currently, according to Van Schaik, too little time, money and effort is devoted to motivate and guide domestic students to go abroad.