Earlier this month, 654 university and secondary school students completed a survey by internationalisation organisation Nuffic. The results show that the coronavirus crisis will have a significant impact. Before the pandemic hit, the number of Dutch students going abroad had been growing steadily for the last several years. Now, Nuffic expects to see a considerable drop in that number come fall.


More than half of the respondents say they have changed their plans. A third are still planning on going abroad when things get better, and one in four are still eager to follow through with their original plans, hoping to get the green light at the last minute. Twenty percent of the students indicate that the university they’re planning to attend has cancelled all foreign exchanges and work placements for the time being.

The most-cited reasons for staying put are the travel recommendations issued by the Dutch government, the coronavirus measures students would have to observe in their host country and the restrictions imposed by their own universities in the Netherlands. A month ago, it was revealed that more and more universities were forbidding their students to go on an exchange.


A large majority (79 percent) of respondents do not yet see the online education offered by foreign institutions as a fully-fledged alternative. Nuffic director Freddy Weima thinks it’s a shame that many students are now missing out on the valuable experience of studying abroad: “We have to keep looking for ways to expose students to other cultures, points of view and working methods.”

In the figures of the pre-registrations as of 1 June, Erasmus University actually sees an increase in the number of foreign students who want to study in Rotterdam. On the basis of above figures, questions can be raised whether this will really happen.

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