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    Speaker’s Corner

    In 2020 TU/e wants to be a more international university, so as to be able to compete with other top universities worldwide. What do you think the university should do to accomplish this?

    Panagiotis Karaliolios. Photo | Bart van Overbeeke

    Panagiotis Karaliolios, a PhD student of Electrical Energy Systems from Greece.

    “Of course, if the decision is taken to be an international university there is no other way but to switch to English. But that’s only part of it. Personally I consider the university to be more than a place which provides training and knowledge. Instead of just being an organization offering Master’s degrees, a university could play an important role in bringing various cultures together and giving opportunities to foreigners to integrate.

    A transition to an English environment would definitely make TU/e attractive to more foreign students, creating an international node in Eindhoven. Challenging as it is, though, if no further action is taken, this can result in the creation of an international ‘ghetto’ of people just coming and going.”

    “In my opinion what should be focused on, is stimulating people to learn Dutch. If you offer an environment that is completely English, students hardly come in contact with local people and habits. When they learn Dutch you cannot only have the students coming here, but you will also have them looking around, getting to know the Dutch ways, and probably staying here after their studies.”

    “If I look at myself, I am very happy with the teachers in the language center, and hanging around with my friends from Quadrivium. I finished the fourth level in Dutch, which together with the help of my Dutch friends in the orchestra makes me able to understand and talk to the people involved in our projects. In my group most of us learn Dutch. This is due to the fact that we need to speak the language in order to function later in our working areas. Of course, I’m not in favor of forcing people, so I would suggest bringing in people who have knowledge on the subject of how foreigners can be encouraged to learn the local language, even when it’s not needed for everyday use.”

    Yeisson Figueroa, a second-year Master student of Mathematics & Computer Science from Colombia

    “When I hear about TU/e wanting to have more international students and employees in 2020, I think the university should apply a better recruitment strategy, especially for South American and African countries. The proportions of South American and African students and of students from some other countries are really poor. I am from a South American country myself, and I can say most of us don’t easily trust in studying abroad. Our poor knowledge of the English language makes us insecure about what we’re getting into. We simply do not have enough understanding of the information provided to us.”

    “A good strategy would be to set up conferences or consulting hours with native speakers from each country from which TU/e wants to attract more students. It can certainly give more confidence when a local person advises new students in applying for a certain program in their own language. He or she can not only provide all procedural information, but also add his or her own experience and adapt to special needs. Speaking of which, I would certainly be willing to spend some time in the information office doing that. (HB)

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