Netherlands Embassy and Consulates, China

Seminar: understanding Chinese students in Europe

On Wednesday, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted a seminar about European higher education and Chinese students in Europe, which was attended by over 50 representatives of European embassies and schools.

The event was organized by the embassy in collaboration with LeidenAsiaCentre on the occasion of the release of a new research report from the same Dutch research centre.

After a kind word of welcome by Chargé d’affaires of the Netherlands Embassy Mr. André Driessen, Prof Frank Pieke from the LeidenAsiaCentre presented the main findings of the research report on the perception and experiences of Chinese student in the Netherlands.

The report shows that Chinese students often chose to study in the Netherlands to seek personal development and international experience. They like the international environment as well as the English-taught programmes. Chinese students perceive the Netherlands as an open and tolerant country which is clean and safe. But the research also shows that the knowledge of Chinese students about the Netherlands is very limited. 

After the presentation, Dutch Education Counsellor David Pho moderated a panel discussion with experts from the LeidenAsiaCentre, Neso China, the Embassy of Ireland and a Chinese Erasmus Mundus scholarship holder. One of the conclusions was that European countries are still seen by many Chinese students as attractive study destinations. European countries are making efforts to make it easier for Chinese students to study and work in European countries, but language could be an issue to land a job. Chinese students are therefore encouraged to learn the local language.

Countries like Ireland and the Netherlands also offer visa extensions to allow international students to look for a job after graduation. It was advised to better prepare Chinese students to cope with differences in teaching and communication styles in Europe. This will make it easier for Chinese students to deal with open academic discussions and to express their opinions.

The report from the LeidenAsiaCentre provides a wealth of information about the Chinese cultural context which will help European schools to better understand Chinese students. All agreed that Chinese students are very welcome to study in Europe. Student exchanges increase the mutual understanding and exchange between Europe and China.