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International students keen to start their studies in the Netherlands in September

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International students are still keen to travel to the Netherlands for their studies, preferably in September as originally planned. However, there are still many uncertainties because of the coronavirus.
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International students remain highly interested in studying in the Netherlands. Students who intend to travel to the Netherlands for study purposes preferably want to do so in September as originally planned. Postponement to a later starting date is a less popular alternative. Most students want to physically travel to the Netherlands, although they remain open to online alternatives.

These are the results of our survey on changes to student mobility as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Almost 1,350 international students participated in the survey, most of them from outside the EU. The survey was administered as a follow-up to an earlier one published in May, which revealed that, while international students remained highly interested in studying in the Netherlands, many of them were doubtful whether they would actually be able to travel to the country.

Of the students who responded to the survey, 39% indicated that they wanted to travel to the Netherlands to study in person.

Respondents were asked to identify the most obvious scenario that applied to their situation. When ranking those scenarios, 39% named travelling to the Netherlands to study in person as either their first or second choice. Another 30% indicated that, while they intended to travel to the Netherlands in person, they expected to have to study online on arrival. Only a small segment (15%) expected to study a degree programme at a Dutch institution online in their home country.

Travel restrictions and visa procedures were the most frequently mentioned uncertainties. These were mentioned more frequently than in the May survey.

International students continue to experience a significant amount of uncertainty due to the coronavirus crisis. Travel restrictions (62.8%) and visa procedures (46.4%) were the most frequently mentioned uncertainties. They were mentioned more frequently than in the May survey, when 51.2% named travel restrictions and 39.6% named visa procedures as an uncertainty. In spite of the coronavirus crisis, many European students (61%) said they did not want to postpone studying abroad. This figure was lower for students from outside the EU (37%).

You can read the full report here: How is COVID-19 affecting international students' plans to study in the Netherlands? – Part 2.

Student flows will change

Nuffic predicts student mobility will change in the coming years, although pinpointing its exact nature remains difficult. A variety of developments factor into this change, including the coronavirus crisis and Brexit. A recent study showed that European students saw the Netherlands as the main alternative to the UK if tuition fees in that country were to increase as a result of Brexit. As for the US, a recent decision to send international students who will exclusively be taught online for the foreseeable future as a result of the lockdown back to their country of origin and bar them from returning next year was reversed almost as soon as it was taken. Confidence regarding the ability to obtain a visa is a key factor. Uncertainty and red tape may lead to students choosing another destination for their studies.

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