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    In my personal opinion after studying on three continents, I find all education (particularly Bachelors & Masters) outside the United States to be highly non-standard, highly culturally oriented, culturally motivated and culturally driven and less objective and more subjective in their approach to studies. This is the case of studying in most European countries and particularly the Netherlands but it also includes the UK with some exceptions.

    In Europe and particularly in the Netherlands. education (lessons) and assessment (feedback) is only offered in small groups and everywhere outside the US (and particularly in Europe) education is socially managed through formation of peer-groups and then empowering those peer groups to teach each other and assess each others' work so that both time and money of the universities and professors are saved for other lucrative purposes. This is precisely why "Khan Academy", a Youtube based education provider has become more popular over the years in delivering academic contents online in a meaningful way than so-called universities that have become large impersonal corporations doing everything other than teaching students effectively; perhaps giving proxies to third parties online effectively!!


    The problem with all Dutch universities is that they admit Dutch students who are not as good in English as the American, British, Canadian, Australian and Indian students whose native or official language is English. As a result, when forced to work in small groups, the American student has to teach the Dutch student English who wants to proxy his race for his lack of skills and competence in English language and often tells the American student that English is only one of the five major European languages and therefore we (the Dutch) can only get by with minimum functional English at our universities. The problem is that these Dutch students don't understand that a tourist and a student cannot equally get away with the same standard of English. What could be true for a tourist with minimum English is not true for a student who need to know the language since birth or from earlier in life for non-native speakers in English. This is the deceptive caveat of the international education business of European universities that lack very far behind even the worst and the most under-rated American university. Europeans still want to play the accordion with their education when everyone in the world, including the Chinese, are playing the piano.

    The worst part is that the Dutch universities overlook the poor English skills of their students, sending some of them for ESL classes while taking Masters level courses at the university. The expansion of Europe to Eastern European countries have further worsened the problem as those East Europeans are also not good in English but they have very high ambitions but cannot go to the United States, Canada, Australia and the Anglo-sphere for their deficit of English. "Birds of a feather, flock together". The Dutch and the Chinese are therefore flocking together in Dutch universities because of their respective deficit of English.
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    Where exactly have you studied, Zamindar, and for how long?

    Having visited many Dutch universities, and spoken with many students including many British students studying abroad, my experience has been almost the opposite of yours. Dutch students have extraordinarily good language skills, and mostly speak near-perfect English. Even where English speaking is not perfect, it's more than good enough to hold excellent levels of scholarly debate. Most foreign students I spoke to said they loved the small seminar-based teaching methods. These methods are often much more effective for real learning and understanding than the big lectures traditional in America.

    I agree that US unis are excellent - maybe on average they are the best in the world - but Holland has one of the next best uni systems out there.
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    (Original post by John Wallis)
    Where exactly have you studied, Zamindar, and for how long?

    Tilburg, Utrecht, Groningen -- I have degrees from all of them. Lived there three years and earned three Masters degrees. I have a Bachelors degree from a top 50 US university and I attended summer school at LSE in the UK.

    Having visited many Dutch universities, and spoken with many students including many British students studying abroad, my experience has been almost the opposite of yours. Dutch students have extraordinarily good language skills, and mostly speak near-perfect English. Even where English speaking is not perfect, it's more than good enough to hold excellent levels of scholarly debate.


    In my first term at Tilburg, the Dutch students were asking the Russian tutor if she could explain to them in Dutch. A week later these students were moved to another section and I never saw them again.

    In Utrecht the Exam paper is written in two languages -- Dutch and English. One has to cover or cut-out the Dutch with a marker, not to be distracted by questions written in another language and put together with the English translation of the same question with only single space between the questions. Also, the answer sheets were completely written in Dutch and someone at the Exam hall had to help each and every non-Dutch speaking person with translations of instructions on the answer sheet that was written in Dutch.

    At Groningen, the students in every class are given the option to write their answers either in Dutch or in English and this is a choice in their English taught program. As a result all Dutch students were seen to submit work in Dutch after working in small homogeneous groups of Dutch students only where English speaking students are cleverly left out. These British, American, a few Australian and Canadian students are then seen in separate clusters and when anyone from the Anglo-American world is not there, these poor Brits or Americans were seen to study in small groups with English speaking Turkish and Indians. When even those English speaking Turkish or Indians are not there they are forced into a group of Chinese or East Europeans.

    Most foreign students I spoke to said they loved the small seminar-based teaching methods. These methods are often much more effective for real learning and understanding than the big lectures traditional in America.

    Nobody goes to lectures in the Netherlands because lectures are offered by professors in English and the Dutch have considerably low comprehension of advance academic English and very low tolerance for English. The Dutch want to use Exchange students and foreign students to do their work for them in English in small groups since they are not good in English at the advance academic level. This is something not only well known to the Dutch universities but the Dutch universities want a foreign student in every small tutorial sub-group of 3 or 4 Dutch students so that the foreign student who is good in English will make an oral presentation for them or write a long and linguistically demanding essay for them in English which they were not taught to do in their Dutch high-schools where everything was taught in Dutch.

    Most unfortunately, a few English speaking Irish, Australian, Latin American and Chinese students who go through these programs usually do most of the work while receiving the same grade as their Dutch friends in the tutorial subgroup who had no work to write or orally present anything in English other than working on Mathematical and Statistical data sets which they understand well from their Dutch high school.

    Groningen goes one step further by requiring all highly achieved Exchange students from the Fudan University in China (who go to Groningen for their last year) to teach a course based in English. The Chinese students are usually very hardworking and obedient but they are not as good in English as the Australians, Canadians, British and Americans. Therefore when they assess and grade papers of students from the US or UK, they make so many mistakes that professors in-charge of the course need to be contacted. Then these Dutch professors summon these British and American students, commanding them to write their answers in "keywords" and not in complete sentences for the benefit of the Chinese and Dutch tutors who are not good at reading answers written in complete sentences in English. This then becomes a futile and unproductive exercise that is not conducive to learning of any kind for the British, American, Canadian, Australian and all English speaking students.


    I agree that US unis are excellent - maybe on average they are the best in the world - but Holland has one of the next best uni systems out there.
    The term "Dutch Gold" was coined by the British during wars with Holland in earlier centuries and this was not well understood when I left the UK for Holland and all my friends were teasing me "Hey! Are you going Dutch in Tilburg!!!" I never quite understood at the time what they meant. Neither did I have enough choice given the hike of tuition in the UK and the US, to make a decision of not going Dutch in Tilburg, Utrecht and Groningen. I am glad that I am done with them at a very high cost of personal growth and opportunities of self-enrichment that we take for granted in the Anglo-American English speaking world. We have even transferred our Anglo-American values of individualism, high personal growth, academic and personal freedom, personal ambition and self-enrichment without compromising social responsibility, to our former colonies in India, Egypt, Africa and elsewhere in the world from where students continue to pour in our conventional hubs of education in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

    To be quite honest, if I knew back then what I know now about Dutch universities, I would rather go to study in Hong Kong or Dubai or Bangalore, all of whom have grown up speaking and working in much better English than the Dutch. Language, I am afraid, has become more important than race as I normally feel good bicycling in Holland but I feel much better working and studying in English with Turkish, Indians, Malaysians and others.
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    So what you are complaining about is that students in Europe don't speak English well enough?

    I've rarely had to read such a stupid complaint - the official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, therefore university studies are at least partly in Dutch. In Germany >90% of higher education is done in German, in France the language of instruction is French, in Italy it's Italian ...

    How ignorant does one have to be to expect other countries to tailor their education systems towards international students?

    The problem with all Dutch universities is that they admit Dutch students who are not as good in English as the American, British, Canadian, Australian and Indian students whose native or official language is English.
    If YOU are moving to another country to study at their universities, YOU are the one who'd better learn the language and integrate into the system, it's not the system that has to change to suit you, it's the other way around. Tuition fees in the Netherlands are incredibly low compared to the US - so the Dutch taxpayer is funding your education and you thank him/her by complaining about the level of English :facepalm:

    And your claim that university education in Europe is less objective than in the US is laughable. I know numerous German students who went to the US (either for a year abroad during Secondary School or for an exchange during their university studies) and all of them found the level of education over there to be lower, the exams to be easier, the overall experience to be less challenging. Maybe not in case of the Ivy League, but generally.
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    I agree with Sir Fox, the United States education system (coming from an American) is par at best... I know in terms of Math and Science it is below certain European Universities. And may I ask why after the first or second masters you didn't go to Hong Kong or Dubai as you said you wished you had? (One would think that not liking a system would mean not continuing in it?)
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    (Original post by Sir Fox)
    So what you are complaining about is that students in Europe don't speak English well enough?

    I've rarely had to read such a stupid complaint - the official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, therefore university studies are at least partly in Dutch. In Germany >90% of higher education is done in German, in France the language of instruction is French, in Italy it's Italian ...

    The Official language could be Dutch but the advertised language and the language of instruction of the taught program that is being offered is in English. Europeans are too eccentric to understand that if they offer a course in English it cannot be taught in Dutch.

    How ignorant does one have to be to expect other countries to tailor their education systems towards international students?


    Those countries where citizens do not know the global language of English have in recent time started offering English taught programs at universities hoping to make money from the overflow of international students while giving their local students an edge by preparing them in English taught programs. Unfortunately, all these students are non-native speakers of English who are studying in English for the first time. They only have the tourist level of English and not the university level of English and they are unable to write full sentences in English and they only write in keywords. That is what an English taught program is like in the Netherlands.



    If YOU are moving to another country to study at their universities YOU are the one who'd better learn the language and integrate into the system, it's not the system that has to change to suit you, it's the other way around. Tuition fees in the Netherlands are incredibly low compared to the US - so the Dutch taxpayer is funding your education and you thank him/her by complaining about the level of English :facepalm:


    No, dear. The International (Non-EU) students pay 7000 Euros for a Bachelors course in the Netherlands whereas the Dutch and the EU students pay only 1700 Euros in 12 monthly installments. That is a big gap of tuition between the two groups, even when compared to the USA.

    At the Masters level the International (non-EU students) pay 14000 Euros while the Dutch and EU students pay only 2000 Euros. That is why so many East Europeans have flocked to study in the the Netherlands since they cannot afford the high tuition fees of England, knowing it fully well that education is a million times better in England than in the Netherlands.

    Also, the US provides extra support services to International students such as physicians, infirmary, dental-care, etc. Also the US universities have Burger King, McDonald's and Star Bucks type college cafeteria while the Dutch only buy cold sandwiches from the local supermarket with no other choice.

    The Dutch universities have no university housing but all American universities have their own dormitories, halls and on-campus student housing.

    When support services and logistics are concerned, Europeans are living in a slum when compared to the Americans who are eating Burger King and drinking cappuccino and driving a new car on a car loan from the bank. European students are really bicycle riding beggars when compared to the BMW driving American students.



    And your claim that university education in Europe is less objective than in the US is laughable. I know numerous German students who went to the US (either for a year abroad during Secondary School) or for an exchange during their university studies and all of them found the level of education over there to be lower, the exams to be easier, the overall experience to be less challenging. Maybe not in case of the Ivy League, but generally.

    Most knowledge in the world is created in English language. Anyone who cannot decode information and reproduce it in English language is basically left-out as most non-native speakers of English are, whether they are Africans or Dutch, it really does not matter. The stubborn attitude of Europe towards English language will only further pauperize Europe down the line while the former colonies of Great Britain surpass non-English speaking Europeans, excelling everywhere. Precisely for this reason, Indians are doing better than East Europeans, Russians and other non-English speaking Europeans in job markets everywhere in the world.

    Europe is living in the past. America, UK, Canada, Australia, India, China and every other part of the world is living in the future. Europe should wake up and smell the coffee and not remain drunk with homemade beer!!
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    Zamindar, you are making ridiculous claims without backing them up with any sources. Let's see ...

    (Original post by Zamindar)
    Miccol: That is not true for ALL American universities but only the worst ones. All flagship state universities, such as Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc are far better than all the universities of the Netherlands.
    Any you know that because you have studied at all these flagship universities? And because the Dutch universities you've studied at are the best in the Netherlands? Couldn't it be that the University of Amsterdam or Leiden are easily on par with the ones you mentioned?

    Most students who study Engineering and Computer Science in the US are Chinese, Indian, Latin American, Russian and other foreign students whose standards are far higher than those in Europe because they come from the best programs of their country.
    Yes, surely. And there aren't hundreds of thousands of foreign students cavorting at the extremely prestigious (cough cough) American Community Colleges?

    And in regard to Europeans being bad at English: The top 5 language-speaking (or nationality) groups that achieved the best results in 2011 for the Academic Strand of the IELTS test were: German, English, Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish, Kannada (Indian language), Portuguese and Tagalog (language from the Philippines). Ooops, majority are European, aren't they?

    Also the salary of a Science graduate is 10 times higher in the US than in Europe and the US would not be paying higher salaries to those science graduates if they were worse than those in Europe.
    Neeever. Care to cite a source?

    Bottom-line: White Americans are becoming poor rapidly after living dysfunctional lives in divorced and dysfunctional families where children are not educated properly as they are in other parts of the world. The place of White Americans are being taken by the Chinese, Indians, Latin Americans, etc. who are replacing white Americans in large numbers in highly paid jobs. Those non-White Americans were mostly educated in China, India, Latin America, Russia, etc. Therefore, giving proxy to one's "Race" and feeling better about the standards of education in the Netherlands does not help.
    Bold by me.

    Okay, where did the 'Race' come in? No one was talking about races - there are many people from diverese racial backgrounds at European universities.

    China and India are far better in technical education in many fields than the Netherlands and Germany.
    You must be kidding. Have you ever experienced technical education in Germany or how can you judge in that? No one denies China and India are rapidly catching up, but they are nowhere close to being as technologically advanced as for example Germany.

    In 2006 Thomson Scientific ranked the research output of numerous countries - Germany came third behind the US and the UK. Nature has published a list of the biggest contributors in terms of articles published in it - guess who's third, the German Max Planck Society, three other German research associations feature in the Top 100.

    And there is the reason the German Gymnasium is consistently ranked the best school form in the world by the PISA study

    And let's not forget that whilst India and China have a couple of outstanding, world class universities, we have to compare those to the size and population of the country. The vast majority of the billions of Indians and Chinese do not study at the reputable Fudan University or the University of Delhi, most of them study at regional third-class institutions.

    Somethings cannot be over-ridden by "Race" and "History". If "Race" and "History" determined progress, China would not be where it is today.
    Yeah, where does the 'race' and 'history' come from again? No one claimed race determines academic success, I am studying at a Scottish university and live with a Chinese student, a guy from Singapore, one from Malaysia and one from England.
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    (Original post by Sir Fox)
    Zamindar, you are making ridiculous claims without backing them up with any sources. Let's see ...



    Any you know that because you have studied at all these flagship universities? And because the Dutch universities you've studied at are the best in the Netherlands? Couldn't it be that the University of Amsterdam or Leiden are easily on par with the ones you mentioned?



    Yes, surely. And there aren't hundreds of thousands of foreign students cavorting at the extremely prestigious (cough cough) American Community Colleges?

    And in regard to Europeans being bad at English: The top 5 language-speaking (or nationality) groups that achieved the best results in 2011 for the Academic Strand of the IELTS test were: German, English, Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish, Kannada (Indian language), Portuguese and Tagalog (language from the Philippines). Ooops, majority are European, aren't they?



    Neeever. Care to cite a source?

    Bold by me.

    Okay, where did the 'Race' come in? No one was talking about races - there are many people from diverese racial backgrounds at European universities.



    You must be kidding. Have you ever experienced technical education in Germany or how can you judge in that? No one denies China and India are rapidly catching up, but they are nowhere close to being as technologically advanced as for example Germany.

    In 2006 Thomson Scientific ranked the research output of numerous countries - Germany came third behind the US and the UK. Nature has published a list of the biggest contributors in terms of articles published in it - guess who's third, the German Max Planck Society, three other German research associations feature in the Top 100.

    And there is the reason the German Gymnasium is consistently ranked the best school form in the world by the PISA study

    And let's not forget that whilst India and China have a couple of outstanding, world class universities, we have to compare those to the size and population of the country. The vast majority of the billions of Indians and Chinese do not study at the reputable Fudan University or the University of Delhi, most of them study at regional third-class institutions.



    Yeah, where does the 'race' and 'history' come from again? No one claimed race determines academic success, I am studying at a Scottish university and live with a Chinese student, a guy from Singapore, one from Malaysia and one from England.

    Interesting replies. I agree with many points but disagree with some. Thanks for taking the time to write. How do you compare Scottish universities with Dutch and British universities down south?
    Thanks for your reply.
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    because they're worse at speaking English than the NATIVE speakers? seriously?

    why don't you go learn chinese or Spanish ( the two with most native speakers) and see how good you are at them.
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    In the port of Amsterdam there's a sailor who drinks
    And he drinks and he drinks and he drinks once again
    He'll drink to the health of the whores of Amsterdam
    Who've given their bodies to a thousand other men

    Yeah, they've bargained their virtue, their goodness all gone
    For a few dirty coins, well, he just can't go on
    Throws his nose to the sky and he aims it up above
    And he pisses like I cry on the unfaithful love
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    (Original post by Zamindar)
    Interesting replies. I agree with many points but disagree with some. Thanks for taking the time to write. How do you compare Scottish universities with Dutch and British universities down south?
    Thanks for your reply.
    I have only studied in one system (the Scottish one), therefore it's hard to draw comparisons, but as I am German and have many friends at German universities and lived just a couple of miles away from the Dutch border, therefore knowing others who study in the Netherlands, I'll try to compare.

    Scottish unis and English ones are pretty similar in quality. On both sides of the border there are bad ones (London Met vs. University of the West of Scotland, Leeds Met vs. Abertay Dundee etc.) and reputable ones, in England obviously the Russell Group, in Scotland mostly St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

    The difference lies in that Scottish undergrad. degrees are 4 years long and in the first two years a wide variety of subjects can be studied. I am studying Psychology but currently also sit modules in Politics and Economics. The US and Australia actually copied the Scottish model instead of the English one.

    Compared to how small the Netherlands actually are their universities feature prominently in most rankings, the QS ranking for example ranks 11 of them in the world's TOP 200. From those studying in the Netherlands I know that they enjoy it and don't seem to have issues with the quality of teaching compared to Germany and most like the problem oriented teaching style. By the way, almost everyone tells me how great the Dutch's level of English is.
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    (Original post by Zamindar)
    No, dear. The International (Non-EU) students pay 7000 Euros for a Bachelors course in the Netherlands whereas the Dutch and the EU students pay only 1700 Euros in 12 monthly installments. That is a big gap of tuition between the two groups, even when compared to the USA.

    At the Masters level the International (non-EU students) pay 14000 Euros while the Dutch and EU students pay only 2000 Euros. That is why so many East Europeans have flocked to study in the the Netherlands since they cannot afford the high tuition fees of England, knowing it fully well that education is a million times better in England than in the Netherlands.
    Yes - that's because Dutch taxpayers fund the education system and should not pay for international students. Tuition in the Netherlands is still considerably lower than in the US, in Germany it's actually free for everyone, Germans, EU citizens and everyone else on this planet, including Americans, Chinese, Congolese etc.

    Also, the US provides extra support services to International students such as physicians, infirmary, dental-care, etc. Also the US universities have Burger King, McDonald's and Star Bucks type college cafeteria while the Dutch only buy cold sandwiches from the local supermarket with no other choice.
    You want to tell me fast food chains are something to be proud of?

    The Dutch universities have no university housing but all American universities have their own dormitories, halls and on-campus student housing.
    So ... what's the problem? Most universities have some halls and residences which, by the way, are mostly way cheaper than in the US, UK, Australia etc.

    When support services and logistics are concerned, Europeans are living in a slum when compared to the Americans who are eating Burger King and drinking cappuccino and driving a new car on a car loan from the bank. European students are really bicycle riding beggars when compared to the BMW driving American students.
    You mean the slum where health care is free/funded by taxes in contrast to the US who's healthcare system is constantly rated lowly by the UN etc.? Where decent health care can bury you under a pile of debt? You mean Europeans who actually like to ride a bicycle and stay healthy are worse off than Americans eating fast food all day, driving around in cars? I'm currently cycling around in Canberra all the time and love it. Dutch people love their bicycles, but you want to tell me buying a BMW (European car, btw, when was the last time Americans constructed a decent car and why are BMW, Audi, Mercedes, VW etc. all German?) on a loan on top of the loans Americans need to afford college is something to be proud of?

    You mean to tell me the massive debt most graduates in the US end up with is not a problem?

    Most knowledge in the world is created in English language.
    Maybe published, but I doubt most knowledge is produced in English speaking environments. Count all the European countries together, add China and Japan (both scientific giants) and I bet most knowledge is created in a mixture of other languages.

    Anyone who cannot decode information and reproduce it in English language is basically left-out as most non-native speakers of English are, whether they are Africans or Dutch, it really does not matter.
    Yes - most European scientists and researchers are more than able to publish and discuss their results in English. Where's the problem?

    The stubborn attitude of Europe towards English language will only further pauperize Europe down the line while the former colonies of Great Britain surpass non-English speaking Europeans, excelling everywhere. Precisely for this reason, Indians are doing better than East Europeans, Russians and other non-English speaking Europeans in job markets everywhere in the world. Europe is living in the past. America, UK, Canada, Australia, India, China and every other part of the world is living in the future. Europe should wake up and smell the coffee and not remain drunk with homemade beer!!
    It's not stubborn, it's going well. Europeans are getting better and better at English every year. People with German as their first language are scoring highest on the IELTS, higher than native English speakers.

    It's Americans with feelings of superiority like you who make the US look bad internationally. Why do you think Americans come to Europe to experience 'culture'?

    This whole post comes from a German studying in the UK who is currently on a year abroad at one of the most highly ranked universities in the world in Australia.
 
 
 
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