‘Honest’ information about studying in the Netherlands

| Pim Eerden

To better inform international students about what it’s truly like to study in the Netherlands, a group of six International Business Administration students created a website called Student Info. ‘Students often have a more honest opinion about their university than its marketing department has.’

Five of the founders of Student Info.

The idea originated from a culture shock, says one of the founders of Student Info, Arina Pocriciuc. ‘I moved from Moldova – a non-EU country – to the Netherlands. I experienced a lot of differences between the two countries. The website of the Dutch government was not sufficient to tell me everything I should know, and I noticed that other international students experienced the same. Therefore, we got the idea to do something about this.’

Financial scams

The second year IBA bachelor’s student teamed up with five study mates. The idea fit well with a module in their study, says cofounder Ruben Teel. ‘In International Business Administration we had a module about digital marketing, in which we had to set up a non-profit, informative website. We got the idea before that module, but the module was the perfect fit to work it all out.’

‘Students can be informed about anything on the website, but an important topic is financing’, adds Pocriciuc. ‘International students get scammed often, for example in housing prices. Sometimes, rental agencies charge agency fees, and many international students do not know that these are illegal. I once trusted a housing agency that was on a list of recommendations of the UT, but they scammed me. The UT should revise that list, by the way.’

Student counsellors

The information on the website is not complete yet. ‘We have many ideas to expand the page. For example, we want to share more information about holidays in the Netherlands and give some medical advice’, says Pocriciuc. ‘We would also like to start working with student ambassadors and student counsellors. They could share information from a student perspective, besides the information students can already get from student services, which is not always sufficient.’

From page to platform

Eventually, the relatively straightforward page should become a fully-fledged platform, according to the founders. ‘The idea is to make a platform where people can connect and share information about student life in the Netherlands. It is not necessarily UT bound, because there is not much information about studying in the Netherlands anyway. For example, in some other cities like Amsterdam, the situation regarding financial scams is worse than in Enschede’, says Gershom van der Sluis.

The goal is to have people from different universities and cities connecting on Student Info and share their experience about their study programmes and lives in different cities. Van Der Sluis: ‘That is also important, because students often have a more honest opinion about their university than its marketing department has.’

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