Nuffic Neso Representatives from 4 Countries Visit Wittenborg

What International Students Look for when Selecting a University

What do international students want when it comes to choosing universities? If you are looking for one answer to this question, you may be disappointed. As demonstrated last week when Nuffic Neso representatives from four different countries visited Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, there are surprising answers to what prospective students prioritise when looking to study abroad.

Representatives from Nuffic Neso Mexico, China, South Korea and Vietnam visited several institutions in the Netherlands, including Wittenborg, to learn what they offer international students, whilst providing valuable insights on student mobility in their own countries.

Jungyoon Yang, chief representative officer at Neso South Korea, was impressed with the double-degree programmes Wittenborg offers in conjunction with the University of Brighton in the UK. She said it would definitely be a draw card for Korean students and worth marketing to them.  "A UK degree is popular in Asian markets."

At Wittenborg there are currently about 150 students doing double degrees, which includes bachelor's and master's degrees. Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, said Wittenborg is also about to make an agreement with Deakin University in Australia, which would give students the opportunity to spend part of their studies in Melbourne.

Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, said the institution learned "tremendously" from its partnership with Brighton – that has about 20,000 students – on professionalising the programmes.

Sarai Sotero, education promotion officer from Nuffic Mexico, said the quality of the programmes is important to Mexican students, that they are offered in English, as well as funding opportunities. The areas of studies they are interested in are Science, Technology and Energy Studies, as well as Oil & Gas and Economics.

Vi Nguyen, chief representative officer from Neso Vietnam, said most Vietnamese students work closely with agents when they want to study abroad – there are more than 4,000 agencies! Nuffic are not allowed to work with agents, but instead help students by giving training on visa preparations, etc.

Bert Husson, deputy director of Neso China, said similarly to Vietnam about 80% of students work through agents when they want to study abroad. Husson said Nuffic has changed its strategy on student mobility "slightly", now focusing more on drawing quality students instead of huge quantities. Outward student mobility – Dutch students going abroad – is now also a priority.