Many west of Ireland students choosing Dutch universities

There are currently more than 1,000 Irish students registered on degree programmes, taught through English, in Dutch universities, a number that has nearly doubled in recent years.

This phenomenon is radically changing the palette of third-level opportunities available to Irish students who can now access a wide range of programmes, at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, in institutions with a very high international reputation, at a cost lower than studying at home.

Dutch universities are currently receiving unprecedented numbers of enquiries from Irish students and their families, so it is no surprise that 15 of these universities are coming to Ireland in a series of events, offering families the opportunity to meet the universities staff and Irish students who are studying there.

Students from Galway and Mayo are among the most numerous in the Netherlands.

Michael Howley, guidance counsellor from Gort Community School, from where five students went on to university in the Netherlands this year, states this is the future.

"These programmes provide opportunities to students to seize a college place who might not be able to get them here, at lower cost than here with no need to stress over Leaving Cert points. The reports I am receiving from students who went in previous years to study, for example, physiotherapy, are very encouraging.”

Representatives from these universities are in Galway this week at an event called OMG We’re Going Dutch, to speak to prospective students and their families. Co-ordinated by EUNICAS www.eunicas.ie, the evening represents a measure of the growing interest in the opportunities to study in the Netherlands.

Guy Flouch, a trained guidance counsellor, of the Irish-based EUNiCAS www.eunicas.ie application support service, that has organised this event, comments: “Dutch universities don’t select for entry based on Leaving Cert points. Tuition fees which, at €2,060, are already very low, can be recouped by way of an interest-free loan from the Dutch government."

Not only can students take their SUSI grant with them but there is further financial support from the Dutch government. Add to that, the attractiveness of graduates from these institutions, to employers, in an increasingly globalised employment market, it is definitely worth consideration.

Irish students are now enrolling in Dutch research universities, most of which are higher-ranked than UCD, studying subjects such as psychology, law, business, politics, engineering, and life sciences. They are also attracted to the excellent applied universities which are more practical employment-focused institutions offering qualifications in areas such as physiotherapy, teaching, business, art and design, game design, IT, hotel management, and media.

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