Netherlands: Immigrant students stand alone

Despite being announced in mosques and organizing calls by telephone, the information meeting for parents of immigrant student Utrecht University attracted barely 40 people.

In a a previous "public" parents meeting it was very striking. "there were only white parents," says organizer Jeanette van Rees. "Very enthusiastic but it's not right."

With a student body of 12% immigrants it cannot continue that way, concluded Van Rees, head student guide for the university. Together with local high school they organized the first information gathering for immigrant parents, for the first time in 10 years, by request of the immigrant students.

The students sometimes encounter incomprehension at home for the hours they need to study, for internship, for the benefit of being a member of student organizations, and for the importance of achieving a better CV. Van Rees: "Immigrant parent often know very little of this. Much has to come from teh students themselves, but the support of the homefront is also very important."

12% of the student body at the University of Utrecht have a "double culture". "We purse a correct mirroring of society. And we also naturally always search for talent. Such a special meeting for Turkish and Moroccan parents can help. Ten years ago it was very well received. So well that I'm surprised that we didn't go further with it," says Van Rees.

Because invitations via the usual channel for "usual" parent days did not work, Van Rees looked for other ways. It was announced in mosques, she made contact with immigrant organization in Utrecht but also with the Forum, the institute for Multicultural development. the Utrecht immigrant student organizations even held a telephone operation.

Van Rees says that they don't know how to better approach it, but that they will evaluate it. The reactions were, in any case, positive and they going to continue further with it.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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