'Internationals have less odds in their favour'


Chandni Shyam
Chandni Shyam. Photo: Tara van den Broek

Nearing every deadline, there would always be a flurry of messages between my classmates and I. “Do you think the word count is too strict? I might be a few hundred words over the prescribed limit!” “Have you already uploaded the assignment?”

Everyone seemed to run on fumes before these deadlines. Stress was a constant companion throughout our Master’s programme. Yearning for breaks and looking forward to the end. Yet, when we met up for graduation, many of us shared the feeling of not being able to relax. Of still riding an adrenaline so high that we could not get off from it.

In my last meetings as a member of the Degree Programme Advisory Committee, I discussed similar concerns with the first-year representatives, who feel that the deadlines were not helping them learn. Instead, they only stressed them out to the point of completing work for the sake of completion.

But what was most worrisome was their fear of being unprepared for the aftermath of the degree, something I’m sure my classmates can relate. Most of us had career plans and ideas about where we wanted to go, but we were scared of losing the sense of purpose that a degree demanded.  

For me, this was aggravated many times over by the timing of my arrival in the Netherlands. I was stressed about visas, housing, and employment. Burning out my savings seemed to be a bad way to be at the end of my degree and yet that was exactly where I was.

As an international student on the last vestiges of my visa validity and with no Dutch proficiency, I am struggling to find even part-time jobs. The university can hardly help someone who has graduated already and no employer wants to take part in the rigmarole you have to jump over to get a visa.

If you are an international student, there are less odds in your favour. There are just too many variables that can go wrong. Institutions like universities could give us a helping hand. But the question is whether they can afford to do so and if they think it is worth investing in international students.


Banner DUB Magazine 2022 cover

DUB Magazine 2022