OMG We’re Going Dutch – Increasing numbers of Irish school-leavers are now going to university in mainland Europe, on programmes taught through English. There are currently some 1200 Irish students now studying there. Half of these are in the Netherlands, where numbers are climbing steeply. There are over 250 undergraduate programmes in the Netherlands, taught through English (these can be searched on www.eunicas.ie). Irish students are studying Physiotherapy, Psychology, Law, International Business, Physics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Game Design, Fine Art and many more.
In fact, Dutch universities are now receiving so may enquiries from Irish students that fifteen of them have decided to come to Ireland, at the end of the month, to meet Irish students and their families. These events “OMG We’re Going Dutch”, are taking place in Cork, Galway and Dublin. Information on these events is here …
There are 14 Dutch universities higher ranked than Trinity and, incredibly to some our students, their selection procedure (where there is one, and often there isn’t) is not based on points/grades. Many programmes grant access based on our own NUI matriculation requirements, six passes at Leaving Cert, two at H4, though there can be subject requirements. Some programmes, such as Psychology or Physiotherapy or Liberal Arts have a selection procedure. Sometimes this procedure is based on an aptitude test and sometimes a personal statement or an interview. The procedure varies.
Tuition fees in the Netherlands are Eur2006. All EU students are entitled to a low-interest loan to pay these fees which they have 35 years to repay, after they graduate. Additionally, there are other supports where students who get a part-time job receive a further grant or loan from the Dutch government, of Eur800 per month, towards living costs (rent outside Amsterdam is about Eur350 per month). Additionally, students who qualify for a SUSI maintenance grant can take it with them to a public university in the EU.
The accessibility implications are significant, not just for the reasons of social justice. The principle of students having a right to education, without onerous cost or entry requirement barriers, goes against the wrongly-held presumption of many that studying abroad is expensive and reserved to wealthy families. Studying in the Netherlands is, in fact, less expensive than studying at home.
Most importantly of all, in the decades to come, our students will be competing for jobs in an increasingly globalised employment market. A degree achieved abroad provides the perspectives, skills and networks that stand out in graduates’ CVs.