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The Netherlands remains an attractive prospect for international students

Over half of the international students currently studying in the Netherlands say they plan to stay on after graduating. Despite the coronavirus crisis, this is about the same percentage as last year, reports Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education.

Through various channels, Nuffic sent out a questionnaire to international students in September and received over four hundred responses. That is not exactly a representative sample and it remains to be seen whether the students will actually follow through with their plans. Nuffic therefore presents its findings with a measure of caution.

Little change

The survey shows that 57 percent of respondents want to stay in the Netherlands after graduating, either to pursue a career or to continue their studies. Students from outside the European Economic Area, strongly over-represented in the survey, are a little more committed to a Dutch future: 59 percent of them are planning to stick around.

For the time being, it seems that little has changed: according to figures released earlier in the year by Statistics Netherlands, half of the international students who graduated in 2019-2020 were still in the Netherlands in January 2021. In the years preceding the coronavirus outbreak, this percentage – one year after graduation – was roughly the same.

High standard of living

The high standard of living and the quality of research and education are the main reasons the respondents give for wanting to stay. Those who intend to leave cite poor job prospects, the tight housing market and the Dutch handling of the coronavirus crisis as their main reasons for moving on.

Internationals who studied from their home country due to the coronavirus crisis are less inclined to come to the Netherlands (40 percent) than those who completed at least part of their programme here (60 percent).

From previous research, Nuffic knows that students in fields with a shortage of graduates are more likely to stay on. This applies to tech and engineering and, to a lesser extent, to programmes in education and health.

Translation: Taalcentrum-VU