On Tuesday Wittenborg directors Peter Birdsall and Maggie Feng paid a visit to the Netherlands Education Support Office (Neso) China at its headquarters in Beijing. They met Neso director Charles Hoedt and his team to discuss the promotion of Dutch higher education in China, and specifically the special promotion of universities of applied sciences, a system of professional higher education which is almost unique to many of the germanic countries of Europe.
Wittenborg learned that Neso China works hard to promote the Netherlands as a study destination, in what is an ever increasingly competitive market for a highly knowledgeable student body looking for their studies abroad. According to Maggie Feng, "gone are the days when institutes can travel to China and expect agents to send them 'batches of students'. Chinese students are much better equipped with language skills and knowledge of their possible study destinations than ever before, and organisations like Neso in Beijing help institutes better position themselves in a difficult market."
After the meeting, Wittenborg's Chair, Peter Birdsall said 'We were very impressed by the data shown at Neso, and Charles and his team are doing a great job at promoting Dutch higher education across China. What is clear is that the market will get tougher in the future, especially with China itself providing more higher quality graduate degrees and having its own very clear internationalisation agenda.'
Wittenborg currently has around 8% of all Chinese students studying at a University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, however many of its students are final year and post graduate degree students, entering the university from other programmes, and therefore not directly recruited in China.
The university has strong links with China, as it's CEO, Maggie Feng is from Beijing where she grew up and attended Beijing University of Technology, before coming to the Netherlands as an exchange student, in 1999.
by J.P Wedgewood