New data on number of international students

International students flood Dutch universities

This academic year, a record-breaking number of international students is studying in The Netherlands, according to an analysis by Nuffic, Dutch organization for internationalization in education. The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) and the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) are afraid that universities do not take into account what the consequences are of attracting international students.

Original text: Elisa Ros Villarte
Translation: Evelien Müller

Tremendous growth
The number of non-Dutch students has risen with ten thousand people in contrast to the academic year 2016-2017. This means that a total of 122,000 international students are studying at Dutch universities. Therefore, on average, one out of eight students is an international student. Out of those 122,000 students, 90,000 students are enrolled in a full-time bachelor or master, while the rest is staying in The Netherlands for a semester or a year only. At Radboud University (RU), the number of international students has not risen as drastically as at other universities. The internationalization allows students to exchange experiences and to get in touch with people from a variety of backgrounds, according to the ISO. In order to realize this, the ISO deems it necessary that universities stimulate the integration of international students.

Within limits
This cultural diversity, however, also has a negative side. Because universities wish to attract more international students, many programs are now taught fully or partly in English. The LSVb is concerned that the quality of lectures will suffer because of this, and that Dutch students will have to compete with international students for a place in subsequent education. There will thus be fewer places for Dutch students. Furthermore, because of the lack of student housing in many cities, there is not enough housing for those extra students, although this too is less of a problem in Nijmegen. The LSVb is asking universities to 'stand down and revise their strategy'. Several universities cannot handle the large number of international students, but rejecting students on grounds of their descent is discrimination. Because of this, the ministry of Education, Culture and Science cannot implement any measures to control internationalization.

Internationalization can be beautiful, but can get out of control. Universities should therefore pay attention to the effects of the rising number of international students. The RU is doing fairly well on many issues, such as the housing of international students. However, there are some problems as well in Nijmegen, for example regarding the quality of English lectures.

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Campusnacht becomes Radboud by Night

Partying professors

Karaoke at the Cultuurcafé, a haunted house in TvA, and parkour through the Refter. These are just some of the activities that will be organized during Radboud by Night on March 22, the event formerly known as the Campusnacht.

Original text: Julia Mars
Translation: Vincent Veerbeek

The event has been given a facelift this year. To make it more appealing to international students, the name of the event has been changed into English. On top of that, the event will no longer last the whole night, but will end at 23:00 o’clock, followed by an after party. This party will take place at the Cultuurcafé and at the bicycle storage below the Lecture Hall Complex (CC), which will be transformed into a rave basement. During this techno party, professors will get a chance to show off their DJ talents. Academics like Margot van Mulken, dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Daniël Wigboldus, president of the Executive Board, will play their favorite party tracks.

The activities will take place in the Erasmus building, the Refter, TvA 1, the Cultuurcafé and the basement of the Lecture Hall Complex (CC). Thirty different student organizations, including sports and study associations, will organize the various festivities, and participation is free.

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Making controversial themes easier to discuss.

Cultuur op de Campus breaks taboos

In March, Cultuur op de Campus organizes a series of three interdisciplinary evenings on taboos in order to make students think about themes such as religion and sexuality.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Marissa Aarts

The three evenings are consecutively about the taboos of religion in an academic context, sexual identity, and talking about feelings. In order to highlight these themes from as many different angles as possible, an interdisciplinary approach has been chosen, with not only lectures and discussions, but also musical performances and literary recitals. 'We have noticed these themes are also relevant to actors and within the music world', says Aimée Dabekaussen, General Board Member of Cultuur op de Campus. 'On the third evening, which is titled Sad, we host a dance performance that relates to the theme of feelings, and music by a band that has dedicated an album to this subject. The goal of the series is to help people come to new insights. 'Art can awaken people in a different way than a lecture can. In addition, it fits the character of Cultuur op de Campus, so we started working from that perspective.'

In order to organize the evenings, Cultuur op de Campus is working together with LGBT+ youth organization Dito!, Muslim student organization MSV, and a student psychologist. 'Collaborations are helpful to gain inspiration. In addition, other organizations usually have better insight as to what is happening with regard to a certain topic', explains Dabekaussen.The intended result is an evening-long program in which students get the opportunity to reflect and have conversations on themes that usually remain undiscussed. 'We want to show these topics from different angles in order to make them easier to be talked about.'

The taboo-evenings Sense, Sex and Sad will take place on March 14, 21 and 28 in theater hall C.

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Great activities for a good cause

Program RAGweek announced

Between March 7 and 14, students will be able to amuse themselves with tons of activities, which help raise money for the good cause, during the so-called RAGweek. The RAGweek board announced the program of the festivities last Friday.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Lorin Posthumus

After a kick-off party next Tuesday the RAGweek will officially start on Wednesday with a 'fancy fair' on the Erasmusplein. Several associations will load their booths with food and drinks, but also games and 'resumé-checks'. Besides these and countless other activities organized by various student organizations, there are also a lot of initiatives to raise money by RAGweek themselves. For instance, there will be a "RAGbar" at the Cultuurcafé where you can buy a home brewed RAGweek-beer. For every meal bought at the University's food venues during the RAGweek, students can donate 50 cents under the name "RAGsmakelijk". A new event will take place on the last day of the RAGweek: the "RAGchelous Cantus" at the Steven's Church. The week will be closed off with a big party at the Villa van Schaeck, after which the organization can begin counting the money that has been raised.

The money raised this year will be donated to 'Stichting 113 Zelfmoordpreventie' (an organization for suicide prevention) and 'ACNS projecthulp' (a child support program in Sri Lanka).

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New food app Nibblr launched in Nijmegen

Never eat by yourself again

As of this week, there is a new addition to the sharing economy. After Airbnb and CouchSurfing for accommodation and Uber for transport, there is now an app that allows you to have dinner with strangers: Nibblr. The new app will be launched on Monday in Nijmegen.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Ramadan Hasani

Dining with strangers
Founder Yannick Kampschoer describes the app as a 'social dining platform', with which people can meet each other while enjoying a self-made meal. Those who are inclined to show off their cooking skills to the world can invite people over. Those who would rather be lazy than tired can find an unknown chef nearby. 'We believe that people should make more time in their everyday lives for the people around them, and dinner is the perfect occasion for that', explains Kampschoer. 'With the app, users can show when and where they are cooking, what they are going to make, for how many people there is room, and what the price per guest is going to be. People who want to eat can take a look at the app and see what is available in their neighborhood.' After the dinner people can leave a review on the person with whom they had dinner. 'It is a kind of social measure, so you can be sure you will join a hospitable chef who is going to cook a tasty meal for you.'

Tasting curiously
The new app is a textbook example of the sharing economy, where the consumer has complete control. 'Initially we had this idea for a restaurant where you do not have your own table, but where strangers can dine together at large tables', says Kampschoer. 'However, because you already have everything at home there is no need for a restaurant, hence the app.' The concept behind the app is also apparent in the name, derived from the English word "to nibble". 'It refers to a unique way of tasting new things, both in regards to food and meeting new people', explains Kampschoer. 'We think this is a brand with which people can identify.'

Out together, home together
Now, a year and a half after the idea was first conceived, the app is ready for use. Starting Monday, the developers will promote their platform among students in Nijmegen. This will be done on the campus of Radboud University and at various SSH& complexes. The inventors of Nibblr want to expand to other student cities, including places such as Leiden, Utrecht and Amsterdam. However, for now the focus is on Nijmegen. 'We want to turn this into a success story, to show what role Nibblr can play in people's lives.' While Nibblr primarily targets students, Kampschoer hopes to expand the platform to other demographics. 'That way we hope to bring together many different kinds of people at the dinner table, who may turn out to have a lot in common.'

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Establishment National Platform for Languages

Platform puts language studies back on the map

The number of students choosing a language education is steadily declining within The Netherlands. To emphasize the importance of language programs, the 'National Platform for the Languages' will be established as of April 1. This platform will be lobbying for multilingualism and will provide information about studies of the Arts throughout The Netherlands.

Original text: Julia Mars
Translation: Marissa Aarts

The platform is the result of a cooperation between seven academic institutions, including Radboud University (RU). Its aim is to argue for the importance of studies of the Arts at ministries, government institutions and businesses. 'With this platform, we aim to create attention for the fact that studies of the Arts are important and individual programs', says Prof. Dr. Margot van Mulken, dean of the Faculty of Arts. 'It will not only have an ambassador's function, but also that of an information platform. The platform will be lobbying at the ministry and the educational institutions for multilingualism, and will additionally provide information on languages and studies of the Arts for those interested.' The platform will intensify cooperation between educational institutions, for example with regard to the transition from hbo (universities of applied sciences) or secondary schools to university. 'Right now, there is no insight into the language capacities of hbo or secondary school students. hampers their transition to university or other education', mentions Van Mulken. Through better cooperation between the different educational institutions, they can better adapt themselves to the needs and learning progress of students.

Another goal of the platform is to stimulate innovation. An example of this is a closer cooperation between universities, so that students can attend courses at different universities. 'Due to the fact that Arts programs tend to be small, it is sometimes impossible to have an expert on every subject available', adds Van Mulken. 'That is why it should become easier for a student of French at the RU to follow a course at the University of Leiden, if there is an expert on the domain of literature during the French Revolution present.'

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AKKU presents housing report

Living situation of international students investigated

Student union AKKU has looked into the housing of international students at Radboud University (RU) and University of Applied Sciences (HAN) in Nijmegen and Arnhem. According to a report presented recently, students in Nijmegen are generally secure in their accommodation, but there is room for improvement.

Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Aafke van Pelt

Settling down
AKKU decided to instigate this investigation following commotion surrounding the living situation of international students elsewhere in the Netherlands last summer. In Nijmegen things do not seem to be so bad, but the student union was still curious to see what the exact situation was. The investigation was primarily focused on measures taken by institutions concerned with housing, such as the SSH& and the RU’s International Office (IO). Results show that about forty percent of international students are provided with housing by the housing department of the IO, which cooperates with student housing provider SSH&. Moreover, the IO stimulates students from Nijmegen who are going abroad to sublet their rooms. Students' complaints are primarily about practical matters such as rent prices and the facilities that are present.

Critical sidenote
Despite these predominantly positive findings, AKKU also cites some issues. One of these is for example a lack of integration since international students often live separated from Dutch students. Another problem the student union anticipates has to do with the fact that 'short-stay contracts' are heavily promoted – these are mostly meant for students who are here for one semester or a year and they offer fewer possibilities for students who are following their full study in Nijmegen. There is a chance problems will arise given the increasing number of foreign students who are doing their full studies here. Another risk is that many students find their housing through the private sector. In general, international students are not always as headstrong as need be, especially if the rental agreements are in Dutch. AKKU's primary advice is improved consultation between housing organizations and parties representing the wants and needs of international students, even if they are not directly concerned with housing.

In conclusion, the report shows that despite the fact that Nijmegen scores above average, there are still a considerable number of issues which need attention and there is definitely some room for improvement. The report partially confirms the statements made to ANS last September by Wessel Meijer, head of the IO.

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