According to the new results of the International Student Barometer (ISB), the Erasmus University improved on social activities, language support and the level of academic English. Performance feedback and the possibility to open a bank account still need some attention.

The international students of Erasmus University appreciate the multicultural aspect most. In other words, they like having contact with people from so many different countries. Furthermore, they appreciate the amount of social activities which are organized for them in Rotterdam. Lillian Jillissen, head of SSC Education, Research and Student Affairs, thinks this is the work of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which organizes drinks every week, trips to Volendam and to Amsterdam on Queen’s Day for example. Sports activities are also a positive point about Erasmus University.

Teachers improved their English

Students are also very satisfied with registration procedures and the formal welcome. Regarding the latter, the score hasn’t changed since Erasmus University has joined the ISB in 2007. That means that students have evaluated the formal welcome the same for three years. Also, internet access and language support have been evaluated positive by the students. And the teachers at the EUR are said to have improved their English skills.

Opening a bank account

On the downside, students are unhappy about the possibility to open a bank account. Over the last three years, the satisfaction level regarding this point increased from 31 to 51 percent, but it remains a point of interest. This is not just a problem in Rotterdam, all over the Netherlands international students rate this very poorly.

Job on the side

Foreign students find it important to earn their own money, but that’s quite impossible in the Netherlands. For the most jobs you have to speak Dutch and mostly the international students don’t. Therefore they aren’t satisfied at all about job possibilities and this percentage even decreased since 2007 by 12 percentage points. ‘Apparently the rules about having a job on the side in the Netherlands are not clear to those students. So we should give them more information about this subject on our website’, Jillissen adds.

Unsatisfied about performace feedback

The respondents are unsatisfied with performance feedback. Although this percentage has slightly increased over the past three years, students would still prefer to get more feedback from teachers on an exam or a paper. Concerning accommodation costs, the students found them far too high. Jillissen thinks that the perception of these costs, as well as the living costs, can improve if Erasmus University gives a more realistic view. ‘If we tell new students that the rent for a room is between 300 and 600 euros, they all think that they can find a room for 300 euros. But that’s impossible of course.’

Choice is based on ranking

After all, special attention should be given to the way foreign students choose for Erasmus University and not for other Dutch universities. According to the ISB, a lot of students have chosen for Rotterdam based on rankings. Also the EUR website, friends and parents helped the students making their decision. LJ