Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra visited HZ University of Applied Sciences in Middelburg on Monday.
At the location on Het Groene Woud, he talked to students, teachers, researchers and administrators of HZ and University College Roosevelt (UCR) about internationalisation.
There are concerns in parliament about the number of international students at Dutch universities and colleges. Just before the turn of the year, a motion by the SP and the CDA was adopted asking to stop actively recruiting international students for the time being. The MPs also want minister Robbert Dijkgraaf to come up with a plan.
These moves were made partly because of concerns about the accommodation of students from abroad. "For us, internationalisation is linked to our mission to contribute to a better world. Our ideal is to have 20 per cent international students. They add a global perspective to our colleges and are important for Zeeland, where they often stay and work. Housing problems are not an issue here," said chairman of the board Barbara Oomen in her New Year speech at HZ.
During the talk, she reiterated this point. Dean Edward Nieuwenhuis also made clear the value of international students for UCR, the HZ and a region like Zeeland. Their speeches were reinforced by (former) students, lecturers, researchers and staff who have settled in the region after studying at HZ or UCR.