THE NETHERLANDS. Once they have received their diploma, many foreign students leave the Netherlands. But even then thousands remain here.
The message that internationalisation organisation Nuffic is spreading this week is a double one. The good news is: there is an increase in the number of foreign graduates in the Netherlands and that is good for the economy. The bad news is: the number of those who leave quickly after graduation is increasing.
Of all 'international students' who graduated in the 2006/2007 academic year, 2,500 still lived in the Netherlands five years later. This number has increased to approximately 3,500 graduates from the 2012/2013 batch.
Nuffic was pleased to conclude that in absolute numbers, more 'international talent' remains in the Netherlands. But that is not the whole story. Those who remain form an increasingly smaller part of all international graduates.
In particular science graduates often stay in the Netherlands after completing their studies: 41 per cent of academics and 26 per cent of those from universities of applied sciences. The international students from TU Eindhoven stand out: more than half feel at home here.
Graduates in Education, Health Care and Nature often find jobs here too, because there are shortages in those fields. Many graduates from art academies also pursue their careers here.
Nuffic suspects that the stay rate will rise again, as the economy is improving. Five years ago, the Netherlands was still suffering from the after-effects of the economic crisis that hit the world in 2008, making it less easy for international graduates to find jobs. That has changed.
Nuffic doesn't just look at foreign students, but at international students. The latter group also includes Dutch students who grew up abroad.
The influx of foreign students is a sensitive issue. Critics reckon that universities and universities of applied sciences undermine the quality of education by increasingly offering education programmes in English. The educational institutes, on the other hand, state that the quality of education improves with an international classroom.