Strangely enough, the horribly skewed housing market hasn’t made people feel welcome in Groningen
Student life isn’t accessible enough to internationals due to language difficulties, cultural differences, and the housing market, according to a study published by the Groninger Studentenbond (GSb) on Tuesday.
The ‘gap’ between international and Dutch students is a phenomenon recognised by many people in Groningen- both current and ex-students. By means of an extensive online survey and 10 semi-structured interviews among Hanze and University of Groningen students, the GSb tried to map out social satisfaction and belonging.
International students tend to struggle with language difficultires (both in and outside the classroom), cultural differences (and the famous ‘Dutch directness’ that can often seem to be outright hostility for newcomers), housing and social exclusion. These factors can, in turn, have various negative impacts on (mental) health, academic success and feelings of belonging.
In the Groningen context, it was found that the Dutch language is a major indicator of social satisfaction and belonging. Not only in academic contexts such as lectures, but also in extracurricular clubs, student associations, student houses and workplaces: all of which were felt to discriminate based on language.
The report recommends a stronger emphasis on participation and accessible information to encourage positive intercultural encounters benefitting both Dutch and international students and improving equality of opportunity for all students.
Image via Peqsels