International students still want to study in the Netherlands

International students still plan to study in the Netherlands, despite the corona crisis, new Nuffic research shows. Especially the high quality of Dutch education is important for international students. Three students tell why.
Posted by Jeroen Langelaar

Nuffic asked over 500 potential international students about their plans to come and study in the Netherlands. The interest does not seem to suffer from the corona pandemic. The decisive factor is the quality of education: for almost nine out of ten students, this is an important reason to come to the Netherlands.

This also applies to Ary Kristianto from Indonesia (photo above). He got his bachelor's degree at IPB University in Dramaga and later this year is pursuing a master's degree in Food Quality Management at Wageningen University and Research.

"WUR is one of the best universities in the world in the field of agriculture," Ary explains. "I previously took a short course at WUR. This experience changed my life. WUR is the way for me to realize my ambitions: to become an expert in the field of supply chain management in the agribusiness sector."


Luz Manzano OrtĂ­z from Mexico is also just coming to the Netherlands despite the corona crisis. The human rights activist currently works as a lawyer for migrants and refugees in Mexico. She received the Orange Tulip Scholarship from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and is going to pursue a master's degree in International Migration and Refugee Law.

"I am looking forward to my internship at the Migration Law Clinic at the VU," she says. "There I can educate myself in the field I want to make a career in: the right to asylum. The corona pandemic made me realize that life is short and uncertain and that I have little control over it. This is precisely why I want to push my plans forward now. This Master has been a dream of mine for a long time. That's why I'm going ahead with it, even though the situation has not yet normalized."


In addition to quality, vaccination campaigns and trust in the Dutch healthcare system also play into the decision to come to the Netherlands.

Widyatri Pusparini from Indonesia (pictured right) is counting on further normalization during this year: "I expect that when I come to the Netherlands, most people in Indonesia will be vaccinated."

Widyatri received her bachelor's degree from the Universitas Padjadjaran. In the Netherlands, she will pursue a master's degree in Environmental and Energy Management with a scholarship from the University of Twente. "Of course there were doubts, but I believe I can't pass up the opportunity that is now being offered to me."

For Ary, the healthcare system and "the well-organized Dutch society" give him enough confidence to come to the Netherlands with his wife and baby daughter. "I even believe that we are safer in the Netherlands than in Indonesia."

'WUR is one of the best universities in the world. It is the way for me to achieve my ambitions'

Luz from Mexico: "The Netherlands and the Vrije Universiteit have taken many measures against the coronavirus, so I feel safe to travel to the Netherlands and study there." Widyatri also praised "the commitment of the Dutch government to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Different from usual

Other reasons students mention in the survey for coming to the Netherlands are the value of a Dutch diploma, the wide choice of English-language courses, and the reputation of educational institutions. At the same time, students count on the fact that not everything will go as hoped.

Widyatri: "Corona has changed everything around us, so I also expect that studying in the Netherlands will be different than usual. But I don't think my activities will be hindered by it."

Students in the survey indicated that online education could negatively affect their choice: a part of the students indicated that they might abandon studying in the Netherlands if the education is mainly online.

For Luz, this is not a breaking point. She counts on the fact that there will be more online lectures. "And I might not make as many friends as I hope. At the same time, I'm convinced that the experience is totally worth it!"