How long do you want to spend (or have you spent) in the college?
Grrr… Let’s see. 4 years normally? or 3 years in UK? 1 or 2 years for a Master study program?
Well, recently I met a smart fella in a random social event. He is still a student in the Netherlands in his late 20s. His answer was: 8 years or maybe more. To my surprise, he was actually bragging and quite comfortable in talking about his prolonged student life in the Netherlands and trying to explain why he was glad about it.
Here goes the story. This dude, Mr.V, comes from a well-off family in some other EU country, never really had any worries in his childhood, but study was never his strength. He referred to his graduation for the 4-year Bachelor degree in his home university in his own country as a total “miracle”. He barely made it through his dissertation defense and countless re-re-re-exams. And what was ever more miraculous was that he got into the Erasmus exchange program and went to a university in the Netherlands for his Master’s Degree.
“Of course I came to the Netherlands for party and weed”, said he with rapture, “one year of pure adventure and lots of fun and then I go back”.
That was his original plan. But now 3 years later, he’s still here in the Netherlands.
Evidently I skipped the stories of the stoic repetition of re-re-re-re-exams, but that didn’t really matter. At least he is happy with his stasis in the land of windmills and tulips.
“I tell you man, why should I ever leave the Dutch university?”
“I am working as a part-time in the local hotel two hours every day. Because of that, I could get a total student subsidy of 800 Euro per month from the Dutch government, plus my working money, I get like 1500 Euro a month just being a student in the Netherlands, why should I ever bother going back home or start looking for a real job?”
There it goes. So this fellow somehow proved that he has to take the part-time job beside his study in the Netherlands, successfully applied for the student subsidy from the Dutch government, working 2 hours a day as a janitor, BOOOM~ he earns more money than lots of fellas who are struggling after the graduation just being a “student”. He got no problems of parties, travelling, or anything he could obtain for just being a student in the Netherlands, albeit being even a non-Dutch student (except for passing the exams and finishing the school). As far as I know, he just booked his ticket to Ibiza for the summer…
What a wonderful system! As an individual being, I would LOVE to be like him. For my school days were always stressful and competitive. I had to struggle my best to graduate as fast as possible and achieve as high grade as possible so that I could make sure my parents’ investment on my education was worth every penny they paid for. Never really heard of the term “re-exam”, let alone the concept of getting paid for partying as a student as long as you want!! Darn only if I were born in Europe…. Who want to have a job anyway, I would stay as a student for as long as I want! Government pays! The generous Dutch government decided to handsomely reward those who want to stay in the university, as long as you are an EU citizen. Readers, go applying schools in the Netherlands immediately if you are an EU citizen!
You will be well fed with generous tax money and watered with beers and wine. Great study plan, isn’t it? Except there’s one point missing…….What’s the point of keeping those students for NOT studying?
I bet this dude is no single case in Holland. And I am definitely not the only one who realized who absurd the system is, either. Recalling several months ago, Dutch government finally decided to do something with it. A budget cut, mainly to reduce the monetary subsidy for the students in higher education, and unsurprisingly, met with fierce resistance and protest from massive student unions all over the Netherlands. The new law basically says that if you stay longer than the required time length of a study program (roughly like 3years for a Master’s progam, for example, still too generous in my opinion), you will be no longer eligible for governmental student subsidy and the tuition will jump to a realistic figure from the heavily-subsidized 1000euro per year (and yet students are bitching about 1000Euro a year for school -> That is less than one month earning of merely being student for that guy). Looks like there are lots of students in the Netherlands not happy about the cut-off of their nutrient tubes from the tax money. that leaves me to think, what kind of young people this system would produce in the end? Not to mention the waste of tax money in the ticket to Ibiza…
Luckily the Dutch government was strong enough to enforce the budget cut, but it’s far from enough. Mr.V could still happily live every after, at least in 2 years, he wouldn’t have to worry about neither a real job nor a real “pass”.
Alas, what on earth was happening that turned the once prestigious and elegant university education system that produces social elites, philosophers, and scientists, into a wonderland for hippies, slackers, and party animals that don’t really study in the great Europe? This is even below the mediocrity that educational system experiences in Northern America and elsewhere. I have to be a cynical prick on this one…