To most people in The Netherlands, ‘Moscow’ sounds like an eternity away. But it’s only a three-hour flight – comparable to a flight to Portugal or Spain. Yet because of this perception, Russia is no obvious choice for Dutch students looking to study abroad. But the ones that do come to Russia are often surprised by what they encounter, according to Jerke Verschoor, director of Neso Russia.
In the third instalment of Nuffic’s podcast series Our People Abroad, journalist Mike Cooper talks with Verschoor about misconceptions about Russia, political tensions and everyday life in the Federation. “People have a distorted image of Russia”, Verschoor says, adding that ‘Russian people know The Netherlands better, than the Dutch know Russia’.
Cooper and Verschoor also discuss the work of Neso Russia, which commemorated its 10 year anniversary last month. While the Dutch government combines pressure and dialogue in its approach to Russia, Verschoor emphasizes Neso is solely in the business of ‘dialogue’. Aided by the long Dutch-Russian history, that goes back all the way to Peter the Great – ‘our first Holland Alumnus’, Verschoor says jokingly – Neso Russia is looking to further strengthening the bond and educational collaboration between the two countries.