International experience for many students at risk

Report on outgoing mobility during the corona crisis.
Posted by Nuffic

One third of Dutch students postpone their study, internship or gap year abroad due to the corona crisis. Some students abandon their international plans altogether, because they cannot postpone them without delaying their studies. These are the main findings from our survey among 654 Dutch students in secondary school and vocational and higher education.

The corona crisis has had a major impact on students' plans abroad - almost three-quarters (73%) indicate that corona has had a (very) major impact on their plans. Half of the respondents have changed their foreign plans, while a quarter are not sure yet. A third indicated that they would postpone going abroad for the time being.

This will therefore have a major impact on the outgoing mobility of Dutch students. In recent years, the number of Dutch students going abroad has steadily increased, but Nuffic expects a major decrease in the coming academic year. Normally, tens of thousands of Dutch students go abroad, for example to complete a study program, to do an internship, to do an exchange, or for a gap year.

At the same time, the majority of students are as enthusiastic or even more enthusiastic about a foreign experience as they were before the corona crisis. Online alternatives however, in their current form, are not yet seen as an alternative to a physical foreign experience by most respondents (79%). That is why it is important to develop alternatives, for example combining online and physical international experience.

Freddy Weima, director of Nuffic: "An international experience in which you really cross borders is impossible for many students these days. That's a shame, because we know that a foreign experience can provide students with a lot of skills that prepare them for society and the job market of the future. Those skills are badly needed during and after this crisis. That's why we have to keep looking for ways to let students experience other cultures, views and ways of working.

All findings of the survey can be read in the report 'Are students still going abroad in 2020/21?‌ (248.8 kB)' (in Dutch).