International students and their Dutch counterparts live separate lives. A gap between the two groups exists.

Internationals refrain from joining Dutch student associations or fraternties and sororities, a study by Maastricht University shows. Maastricht University questioned 871 students at four HBO-universities in The Hague, Amsterdam, Breda, Zeeland and Maastricht University itself, to come to these findings.


Many Dutch students have time-consuming sidejobs, sixty percent of them, whereas only 41 percent of the internationals have a sidejob. Only twenty percent of Dutch students hang out regularly with international students. And, internationals often find company with other internationals. Also, internationals rather join faculty-linked study associations instead of student associations.

Dutch language

“Student associations are open to international students”, says Anna Muyres of the ‘National Chamber of Associations’. “However, in the end the language spoken is Dutch and certain traditions are maintained, like a club song. International students have to be open to that.” Furthermore, they have to be staying in Holland for quite some time, because: “you don’t become a member of a student association for just six months”.

No extra effort

Muyres admits that student associations often do not make the effort to lure the internationals. “But during the introductions, all students, including the ones from abroad, are introduced to the associations, which will surely be more than happy to repeat their little say in English.

Not representative

Muyres believes Maastricht University has not painted a realistic picture. “Students at HBO-universities less often join student associations, and Maastricht is no Leiden.” International students are generally less satisfied with their social lives, but they outperform their Dutch fellow students in study results, with the exception of non-Western internationals. Their study results are not better than those of the Dutch students and they are less satisfied. HOP