Interview: China priority on Dutch education cooperation list, says diplomat
BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The Netherlands treats China with priority on educational collaboration and expects high-quality bilateral educational exchanges, Bas Pulles, deputy head of mission at the Dutch Embassy in China, has said.
"China has been the priority on educational collaboration ... That means we still look for an increase (of Chinese students studying in the Netherlands), not only in numbers but also for a sharper look at quality," Pulles told Xinhua after the Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS) awarding ceremony here Friday.
"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the OTS scholarships in China. The past decade saw remarkable growth of the scholarship," he said.
In 2008, the value of OTS scholarships available to students on the Chinese mainland was about 10,000 euros (11,572 U.S. dollars) offered by one Dutch institute for higher education. In 2018, the value reached nearly 770,000 euros (925,790 dollars) offered by 20 Dutch institutes for higher education, according to Nuffic Neso China.
Pulles said the Netherlands-China educational cooperation has maintained a good momentum, adding that there are universities active in science and research-collaboration visiting the embassy every week.
There are more than 200 partnerships between the two countries in higher education and 30 partnerships in secondary education, according to Nuffic Neso China.
Headquartered in The Hague, Nuffic, a Dutch organization for internationalization in education, has 11 offices around the world, one of which is in China.
Overseas students from China and the Netherlands are acting as informal ambassadors to strengthen mutual understanding and foster friendship between the two countries, Pulles said, adding that educational exchanges constitute a significant part of people-to-people interactions.
The Netherlands is a great place for Chinese students to pursue their studies abroad, Pulles said.
The country is friendly to foreign students, as the Dutch people are open-minded and understand different cultures and lifestyles, he said.
"Holland is the 17th largest economy in the world. Some of the world's biggest multinationals, including Philips, Heineken, KLM, Shell, ING and Unilever, are Dutch.
"International graduates can apply for a residence permit of one year to find a job, or start a business," he added.
Pulles advise Chinese students to participate into university and community activities, like voluntary work and students associations, and to make friends with international students.
Over 8,000 Chinese students are studying in the Netherlands, representing the second biggest group of international students there. There are around 2000 Dutch students studying in China.
"I think studying in China is attractive, because China will become so important ... If you look to the future as a young (Dutch) student, I would say you should spend some time in China, because sooner or later it will become very useful for your career," Pulles said, "The level of universities in China are increasing rapidly ... You can find good education here."
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will also provide more opportunities for bilateral educational cooperation, Pulles said.