Dutch students and internationals have a lot in common, but don't mingle

Image: Shutterstock, edited by DUB

In April, DUB conducted two surveys to find the most average Dutch student and the most average international student. A comparison of the answers provided in these two questionnaires reveals interesting similarities and differences between the two groups.

For example, it looks like the average international student has as many good friends in Utrecht as the average Dutch student. However, Dutch students tend to befriend other Dutch students, while the foreigners find it hard to mingle with the local student population. More than 20 percent of the international respondents in our survey say that they have no Dutch friends at all, but they would like to. This confirms the results of previous surveys conducted by other parties, for instance the International Student Survey from last year.

Unfortunately, our survey offers no explanation for this phenomenon, but the answers about housing present what might be a contributing factor. SSH houses are usually occupied by Dutch students, while international students tend to live in private rentals. This means that, although it is common for both groups to have roommates, they're often not living under the same roof. 

More pressure
It's also unlikely that Dutch students are going to come across their international counterparts while working, since over 67 percent of students coming from other countries do not have a side job in the Netherlands, while only 18.4 percent of Dutch respondents said the same. 

In addition, according to our survey, internationals feel more pressured to get good grades, which may explain why they tend to dedicate more hours of their week to studying than Dutch students do.

They also spend less time on social media and seem to be more aware of how their socials affect their academic performance. Over half of international respondents said they think social media has a negative impact on their studies, while roughly 40 percent of Dutch respondents said "no" to that question and another 40 percent said they don't know.

Private life
But, although they don't seem to interact much with each other, when it comes to their private life, spare time and hobbies, international students have a lot in common with the locals. Both tend to be flexitarian, exercise twice a week, drink a single cup of coffee a day, and drink less than five glasses of alcohol each week. Dutchies seem to consume more beer than internationals do and they also seem keener on trying different types of drugs. Asked to say what kind of drugs they use frequently, Dutch respondents came up with a variety of answers, while international students overwhelmingly went for cannabis. But the most surprising takeaway, without a shadow of a doubt, is that international students are more inclined to go to class by bike than their Dutch counterparts. 

Relationships and sex
When it comes to sex and relationships, international students don't differ much from Dutch students. In both groups, about 50 percent of respondents are in a committed relationship and about 5 percent qualified their relationship status as "complicated".

Approximately 68 percent of both groups had sex during lockdown, which might help explain why most of them had Covid at least once. The Dutchies are more inclined to have one-night-stands, so it doesn't come as a surprise that they have had more sexual partners than foreign students, on average.