In Holland, university is a reward for hard work - why do British students think so differently?

When I arrived at my chosen university I was excited and I expected my British fellow students would be like-minded

Share
Related Topics

When I came to England in 2010 I was fresh out of Dutch High School. Having completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, studying abroad was the logical next step. Sure, I would pay more than double the tuition fees I would pay in the Netherlands, but I would gain the experience of studying in a different country, and I would be in one of the best universities for the course I had chosen.

I come from a culture where your achievements within every stage of education determine your admission to the next. A primary school student takes an exam which determines which of three levels of secondary school you will be admitted to, which in turn decides which type of higher education you can apply for. In practice it is a lot more complex, but it comes down to this: you are motivated to work hard across several stages to make it to university, and obtaining that spot is an achievement in itself.

For me, this meant that when I arrived at my chosen university I was excited. I expected my British fellow students would be like-minded, and granted, a lot of them were. For the first couple of weeks, that is. I was surprised at the amount of people I met that either hated their subject or module, or had only enrolled in the course because "I scored highest in this subject" or "It seemed easy". As expected, those were the first people who stopped coming to lectures.

In a country where university is expensive, where lecture hours are remarkably lower than in Dutch universities and most work is done independently, the amount of people that do not attend lectures frustrates me. Based on annual fees, some lectures can cost hundreds of pounds. That is hundreds of pounds that students went to London to protest about. That is loans and grants and parents' support, wasted.

The reason for my fellow students' absence could easily be pinned down to laziness, or drinking, or even the bus service. However, after three years, I have come to a different conclusion; for many British students, university is not a reward. Many people I know explain their reasons for coming to university based on cost or ease of passing. Passion, a challenge or the job of their dreams? Not so much.

Now to make myself clear; I'm not saying all Dutch university students are hard-working and enthusiastic, or that everyone on my course is a slacker. However, from the perspective of someone who left home, friends, family and an adorable golden retriever, attending a university where many students throw away the experience is a bit demoralising. I did not come to the UK to pay for a slip of paper, but to study what I love. And so should every student.

The writer is studying a Joint Honours degree in Creative Writing and Media Communications at Bath Spa University.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor