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International student petitions for free public transport

A VU student from Greece has started a petition addressed to the Dutch Prime Minister. He wants all students to receive the same student travel product as Dutch students regardless of their nationality.

Master student Manos Gasparis (26) recently started studying Business Administration at VU Amsterdam. After finding out how expensive public transportation is, he decided to take action and set up a petition. In a matter of four days, he gathered over 800 signatures.

The petition points out that public transportation in the Netherlands is very expensive, especially for students. “International students moving to the Netherlands for studies are suffering day by day. They have to deal with high rent, tuition fees, and consistent exorbitant public transport costs.”

Gasparis himself could not find an affordable apartment in Amsterdam and lives in Haarlem. A situation he says is common for international students. It costs him around € 8.50 to get to the university and back by bus. Besides having a financial impact, Gasparis also refers to a social impact: “When I’m not at the university, I’m kind of isolated because I only know one or two people in Haarlem.”

The majority of people supporting the petition are international, says Manos Gasparis. “However, I am very happy to see we are also getting support from Dutch students who understand that it shouldn’t matter what nationality you have”. He is not sure whether this petition will make a difference for himself: “Maybe we will not achieve anything in the next month, or even in the next year. But at least we’re putting up a fight for future students to have it easier than us when they move abroad. That would be worth it.”


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