Our Executive Board finds itself, with an intake of 43% international students in 2009, in a bit of an uncomfortable position. Stick to Dutch, or present the icing on Jo Ritzen's farewell cake and switch to English? The new Strategic Programme speaks of the 'English unless' approach. For example, will this be the end of place-exchanging shame during 'international classroom' lectures and will this redeem us from the painful moments of silence after yet again a slip of the not-English tongue? Most likely not. First of all, 'English unless' would imply the translation of all Dutch UM policy documents into English and of course the translation back into Dutch again when necessary (or will Mr. M. Paul communicate in English with Marja van Bijsterveldt and Halbe Zijlstra?).
"But don't sell the skin when the bear has not been shot!". Even when a solution to this issue has been found, and all other hurdles are overcome, no highly established and appreciated professor will be send to an English Language training. No, dear hopeful students, that is implied in the word "Unless".
Maarten Derksen is student FHML