The setting: a mix of 30 Dutch and international students, one
Rector Magnificus, snacks and drinks for everyone. At a community
called Quarrel Court ("Krakeelhof") Delft University rector Karel Luyben sat down with his students and
talked about their worries, the Eurocrisis and the quality of Dutch
Everything is intertwined
Back in 2005, his predecessor Jacob Fokkema launched "Meeting the Rector", an initiative thought up
by Library Program Manager Marion Vredeling. The goal was to "make
the gap between students and university decision makers smaller" as
Vredeling puts it. When Luyben was appointed rector two years
ago, he decided to continue this project. By now, he meets eight
times a year with students, both international and Dutch.
Now, he sits on a scuffed white leather chair in front of a
large table loaded heavily with a crate of Heineken, chips and
borrelnootjes. Once all is set, the students hosts take over. They
prepared a number of topics that matter to them. They range from
struggles with student housing to the aging European society to the
increasingly more expensive Dutch higher education. Everything is
Micro level internationalization
One particular issue is internationalization. "We really try to
foster an international environment at Delft University of
Technology, but we often see that Dutch and international students
do not mingle," Elco van Noort, director of the International
"This is indeed tricky to arrange. Students themselves need to
be open-minded to arrange that," one of the apartment hosts argues.
"A basic rule we have is that once a non-Dutch speaker is in the
room we switch to English. We learn a lot from that as well, not
just language, but also culture wise," explains his Dutch flat
At this point, rector Luyben joins the conversation. "A first
step would be to make all education in English. I am a big
supporter of that. I am convinced that both international and Dutch
students would benefit."
Same education, steeper price
"You know, I really think Europe has top level education to
offer," one Aerospace Engineering student from India remarks. "But
the tuition fees are getting steeper and steeper while the quality
stays the same." Right now, Delft charges €8,818 per year for
Master students who have no EU/EEA citizenship. Still quite cheap,
given that some institutes like the Rotterdam School of Management
charges €15,450 per year for a Master's degree.
"I agree with you. It is problematic that the Dutch government
is shifting the financing burden towards students.
But the question is what can we do with the money we have? In an
ideal situation we should take in every talent that applies,"
Luyben argues. "We should also discuss at a European level with
major HE countries like Germany how we get talented foreigners to
study at our universities."
If you would like to find out more about "Meeting the
Rector", please contact Marion Vredeling via firstname.lastname@example.org.