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“She faces having to fly home on Christmas day”

A great deal of commotion surrounds the exam schedules for block period 2. The final exams of the law faculty and the School of Business and Economics (SBE) take place on Thursday afternoon 23 December. The complaints are mostly from international students, who want to catch a train or a flight home. The exam schedule means they will only be able to leave that evening, on the 24th or even on Christmas day. And of course, prices are very expensive then.

“I was lucky enough to get a ticket at a reasonable price, but I still do not like flying on the 24th. I will probably be home at night”, one says on Facebook, where a discussion has been organised on the topic. Another takes the university’s side: “The 23rd and 24th are formal working days in the Netherlands (…). I guess they really thought about this. If you checked the calendar earlier, you knew that there may be an exam on 23rd December.”

Students following the English track of the European Law School are some of the main victims. The exam for the first-year course Comparative Government is scheduled for the 23rd at 9.00. And even worse: the third-year exam on Comparative Tort Law will be held at 13.00.

Erika Lindholm is one of the students who has to show up then: “For me it’s impossible then to get home before Christmas. My case is probably a bit special due to the fact that I live on an Island between Finland and Sweden and the last ferry from the Swedish coast line is at 19:00 on the 23rd. The next one will then be on the 28th of December.” She thinks there will probably be a quite large group of students who have to decide to de-register from the exam and take it on the resit.

The law faculty board has received several complaints, but there is no alternative, says Sjoerd Claessens, associate dean of English programmes. “The planning depends on several things, like the reserved location and the period in which the exams can take place, between Monday 20th and Thursday 23rd. And on top of that, the English track students of the European Law School take two courses in this period, and also two exams which can’t be on the same day.”

James Stetzel, a student at the School of Business and Economics and having an exam on the 23rd at 13.00, was lucky enough to find a train home in the evening from Brussels to London. But his girlfriend is having a lot of trouble. “She faces having to fly home on Christmas day.” Her friends are leaving earlier that week, and will therefore simply skip their exams.

André Jeursen, manager of the SBE Education and Examination Office, thinks students should already have known for some time that the second course period runs up until the 23rd of December. “The exam dates are discussed at a central level, when the UM calendar was determined. In February we already put some information for the academic calendar 2010/11 on EleUM, stating that ‘no exams will be planned on Friday 24 December 2010’.”

SBE makes an exception for exchange. “The exchange students from other parts of the world who have an exam on Thursday afternoon 23 December but have already booked a flight on Thursday will get the opportunity to take the exam that morning. They’ll be held ‘in quarantine’ until the regular exam starts.”


Wendy Degens



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