Internationals get their books too late

International students often have problems getting their text books. This year, law students in particular were impacted.

According to Caitlin Bones, the international representative for the law faculty, several international law students were unable to get their textbooks until nearly halfway into block one. Nikola Knezhevich, 19, from Bulgaria, is one student who had difficulties.

‘There was a little delay me and a couple of friends of mine, but the main problem was that the web shop for the readers wasn’t working at all’, he says. The delay at the Studystore was up to 3 weeks in some cases, which was nearly halfway through the block. Luckily the lecturers were prepared. ‘They uploaded the reading material until week five.’

Nexus had issues

Like many faculties, law has student organizations who host book sales through an online store. But Bones says that internationals don’t utilize their organization, Nexus. ‘Most internationals source their books themselves – last year, Nexus had worse issues than anyone. For some people, it took a whole block for the book to come.’

Nexus is actually one of the few student organisations in Groningen that don’t work with Studystore but with instead. Consequently, Studystore does not stock the books for international law students as fully, since Studyboekwinkel is supposed to provide them. However, Studyboekwinkel’s prices are higher, at least for law books, than Studystore, so internationals may choose to shop there anyway. As for the readers, orders were delayed because the print shop website crashed while placing the order.

But the main issue seems to be timing. Since international students often arrive a matter of days before classes begin, they buy their textbooks from Studystore at that point instead of through the Nexus sale. By then, there aren’t enough books left.


As for Studystore’s side, Roland Venekamp, a manager at the national level for Studystore, says that the book orders are always an informed estimate. Employees at Studystore add that if a student’s home country doesn’t use IBAN numbers, which identify specific bank branches, then they can’t place an order. Even if students have a credit card or European bank account, weight limits on luggage mean they can’t afford to fill their suitcases with bulky textbooks and risk overweight bag fees.

Another obstacle is an address. Since students don’t have one here until they arrive, they usually can’t order their books until they have moved in, anyway. As an alternative, some student organisations let internationals use the address of their office for delivery of their text books before they arrive.

Miss out on information

Venekamp also questions how much information international students get about ordering their textbooks. ‘Dutch students get information packages in advance, well before classes start, and they know about this stuff, anyway’, he says. International students may miss out on information during introduction weeks, so ‘there may be room for improvement for how to inform them.’

Bones hopes that all of these issues will be addressed during the next faculty meeting on Friday.

UPDATE: In order to give international students more time to get their books, it was decided last week during the law faculty meeting that ‘there will be a book list available before summer next year, at the latest in June’, Caitilin says.