Study associations present manifest to executive board

| Rense Kuipers

The UT study associations handed over a signed ‘manifest’ on internationalization to UT chairman Victor van der Chijs, this morning. The shared message: ‘There’s a lot going on, but we’re not quite there yet.’

In the document, the study associations state that the UT ‘shouldn’t be a Dutch university with English taught programmes, but a truly international university’. The associations want to hold up their end of the bargain to accomplish this. ‘We do a lot already, but in several cases we still need help’, Anouk de Jong said this morning, on behalf of university council party UReka. They helped the associations to make the document.

Ensuring and asking

The associations want to encourage their members to use English in the association rooms and during their events. They also want to ensure that all public written communication is in English. But they also ask the university to put more effort into internationalization. According to the associations, all formal communication from the UT to students should be in English. They also want the university to further support students, associations and staff to use translation services and language courses. And they want the educational programmes to make an effort to further improve the level of English, both spoken and written.

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UT chairman Van der Chijs said he ‘really appreciated’ the initiative of the students. ‘It’s a welcome step to make this university a real international organization. So we can also be an example for other Dutch universities. This place should feel like a home for everyone, especially for students.’

Language policy

Van der Chijs also acknowledged that a lot of effort has already been made, regarding the topic of internationalization (‘which is more than just speaking English’). ‘But we’re not quite there yet, also in knowing from each other what efforts we make.’ The students shared his view. Bart Folkers of study association Arago: ‘We would like to be kept more in the loop of everything that’s going on regarding internationalization.’

The UT is working on a language policy, Van der Chijs stated. ‘We will discuss this with the university council next month. Our plans are to make English the default language for formal communication.’