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Dutch mobility lagging behind Europe

The Netherlands lags behind much of Europe when it comes to long-term outward mobility, with 3% of students abroad for the entirety of their course, according to new analysis. 

Some 3% of Dutch students go abroad for the entirety of their course. Photo: Unsplash

The total number of Dutch students studying full degree programs abroad has doubled over ten years

International education organisation Nuffic examined outward mobility data and found that Dutch students were spread across 98 countries with three-quarters of students choosing destinations in the European Economic Area. 

The total number of Dutch students studying full degree programs abroad has doubled over 10 years to reach 20,000 in 2019. 

“Although the Netherlands lags behind at European level in terms of diploma mobility, the opposite is strikingly true in terms of credit mobility,” Nuffic researchers wrote in a new report

There are no precise figures on short-term exchanges, but, by analysing Erasmus+ data, Nuffic found that over 14,000 Dutch students went abroad for internships or semester exchanges in 2018/19. 

The most popular destinations for these exchanges were Spain, the UK and Germany. The pandemic saw the number of students taking part in short-term exchanges drop from 25% in 2018/19 to 14% in 2020/21. 

“A study or internship abroad is of great value to Dutch students”

“A study or internship abroad is of great value to Dutch students. They develop skills for the internationally oriented labour market where they end up after their studies,” said Nuffic researcher Anneloes Slapdel-Henschen.

“Moreover, internationally competent students are better equipped for multicultural societies and the cooperation across national borders that is necessary for solving global challenges.”

Belgium is the most popular country among Dutch students for long-term study, due to “the language, the low tuition fees, the availability of rooms and the accessibility of programs such as (veterinary) medicine, dentistry and psychology”, according to Nuffic researcher Saoradh Favier.

The UK and the US are the next top destinations, but Britain has become less popular following Brexit, seeing a 19% decrease in students. 

“No other destination country in the top 10 shows a comparable decrease,” the researchers wrote. 

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