Utrecht, 08/05/2020 – It is not easy for the international students in the Netherlands in the current Corona Crisis, that is what Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO), the Landelijke Studentenvakbond (LVSb) and Erasmus Student Network The Netherlands (ESN) concluded. “Throughout the past years, we have seen that international students are facing many problems. With the current Corona Crisis, those problems only get bigger and in some cases, it leads to very difficult circumstances.’, says Kees Gillesse, President of ISO.
The student organizations base their conclusions on the results from the Annual International Student Survey (AISS), a survey executed every year in order to see what the current state is of international students in the Netherlands. The survey has been executed before the Corona Crisis. 518 international students from 80 different countries have completed the AISS this year. The results from the survey are combined with the messages received by the student organizations from the international students in the past weeks at their Corona Hotlines.
The biggest problems international students face are regarding housing and finances. Due to the Corona Crisis, international students are losing their side jobs, some parents of these students are losing their jobs and the exchange rates are mostly unfavorable. Because of this, it is getting more difficult for the international students to pay the high rents or pay the tuition fees. Alex Tess Rutten, President of LSVb: “We have brought a lot of international students to the Netherlands. Now that they are facing problems, we also have to take care of them.”
International students are also complaining about the lack of information from the government. Information in English regarding the Dutch measures in the battle against COVID-19, have been available since a short period of time and are still not complete. Therefore, international students have to rely on the information received from the Dutch students or unofficial translations from press articles. Kees Gillesse, President of ISO: “The government takes measures that also have an impact on the international students. Therefore, it would be necessary to have one central, up-to-date, website in English.”
The student organizations are also worrying about the health- and wellbeing of international students. Because of the Corona Crisis, more stress is perceived. Angelo Bekkens, Education Officer ESN The Netherlands: “The international students in the Netherlands cannot rely on the same social network as the Dutch students. The lack of integration and social inclusion has big consequences on the health-and wellbeing of these students.”
The Annual International Student Survey can be found here.