International numbers up 30 per cent since 2010

According to a report from EP-Nuffic, the number of international students in the Netherlands has increased by more than 30 per cent since 2010.

Five years ago, 46,000 international students were enrolled at Dutch universities, but by the 2014 to 2015 academic year, 62,000 non-Dutch students were in higher education institutions in the Netherlands.

Freddy Weima, the director of EP-Nuffic (the name of the combined European Platform and Nuffic since this year), is satisfied with the constant growth of foreign students. Weima attributes the continued popularity of the Netherlands to the high quality of Dutch universities, the amount of English-taught programmes and the openness of Dutch society, according to a press release from the organisation.

More incoming than outgoing

Groningen is among the top ten Dutch institutions with the highest numbers of international students: in the 2014 to 2015 academic year, the RUG had 3,655 foreign students. In 2010, that number was 1,787 and has had a net increase of roughly 400 each year since then. The University of Maastricht had the most internationals in 2014 with 7,196 enrolled last year.

On the other hand, there are more incoming international students than outgoing Dutch students: fewer Dutch pupils go abroad than those from other European countries. The RUG has been encouraging more Dutch students to study at international universities: part of the university’s strategic plan for 2015 included having up to 50 per cent of Dutch student to spend at least some time abroad.

Despite that goal, only about 30 per cent of students actually left the Netherlands for their studies in 2014. Nationwide, roughly 22 per cent of Dutch graduates of research or applied sciences universities studied abroad during their college years.

National trends

The Nuffic report identifies some national trends that are also recognisable in Groningen. The number of British students in the country continues to rise, but the largest number of international students still come from German. The percentage of international students is also higher at research universities – 13 per cent – than at applied sciences universities – 6.5 per cent.

Official enrolment numbers for the academic year 2015 to 2016 will not be known at the RUG until later this month.