Improving the position of international students within the Netherlands
Last month, together with the LSVb and European Student Network, ISO published the Annual International Student Survey (AISS) report. The AISS is an annual questionnaire completed by international students and aims to provide insight into the experiences of international students within the Netherlands. This year the survey was conducted by 737 students from 193 different countries. The results cause reason for concern. 56% of the respondents have experienced psychological problems, and 65% have experienced many severe feelings of stress since September 2020.
Additionally, for 39% of the respondents, it was unclear whether they were obliged to have healthcare insurance, which often resulted in them being fined. Furthermore, 33% has experienced severe financial problems since September 2020, which has forced several students to borrow money from their families. Moreover, respondents have indicated that housing for international students is still a significant problem within the Netherlands as for 49% it takes more than a month to find housing. Based on these findings, several recommendations aimed at higher education institutions and policymakers have been published to improve the position of an international student.
We, for example, call on policymakers to gather complete, clear and up-to-date English information on the right to student finance, health care insurance, opening a bank account, registering with the municipality and the obligation of healthcare insurance, and placing this information on one central website. So far, the publication of the Annual International Student Survey report has received national wide media attention, which we hope will increase the pressure of relevant actors to improve the position of the international student within the Netherlands.