Student life
Posted on: Mar 06, 2013

Dutch and foreign students work together in classes but socialize separately

Mike Klianis

The Netherlands is considered as a multicultural country; there are more than 30.000 foreign students with the most of them following a master's program degree. Those students have of course to interact and work with Dutch students and teachers. But is this always something easy to do?

Philip Smet wrote in his article, published on RNW, about Dutch and foreign students having often to work together in groups. Their different perspectives and approaches may lead to difficulties in their cooperation. For instance, Dutch students seem to be more direct and even arrogant in relevance to the foreign students that appear to be more polite and think more before they act. Moreover the teachers stress out that the foreign students are more hardworking and motivated as compared to the Dutch ones. However despite of all these differences most of the times the students of different cultures are able to work efficiently together.

But, what happens after the classes, when it comes to making real friends? Do the cultural differences make foreign students create cliques and distance themselves from the Dutch ones or they can also overcome those differences as mentioned above?

Unfortunately it seems that when we have to do with the social life of the foreigners, the culture and language barriers appear to be stronger and thus the Dutch and foreign students socialize separately. In particular most of the foreign students tend to avoid socializing with Dutch students because they think that they are rude and in fact they do not care to hang out with them. But can we be sure that this statement is the true? Is the impoliteness of the Dutch people that make foreign students prefer people from their own culture or the fear that they might be rejected based on stereotypes for the Dutch individuals?

Whichever the answers to the aforementioned questions might be, our opinion is that as far as those students can work together and interact every day it shouldn't be difficult to hang out as well. Chat over a beer outside the university dorms and libraries. It is just something that requires effort and time from both sides.

Source used: RNW

Photo by: jirka, 1stsite, indigo_jones

Harmonia Coaching