Make us proud

Make us proud

Dutch Caribbean students are leaving for the Netherlands these days to further their education. The islands, due to their small scale, are simply unable to offer a quality local alternative for every possible course programme level, so the annual exodus remains necessary.
Not everyone agrees, mainly because it amounts to considerable so-called “brain drain” each summer. The fact is that many don’t complete their studies and/or fail to come back when they do.
A lot has been said and written regarding this issue, while the number of high school graduates boarding planes to Schiphol Airport certainly from St. Maarten has gradually declined over the years. One reason is the availability of more feasible options in the region, which is being promoted where affordable – for example, based on special “in-state” tuition arrangements with American colleges – due to better average results and return percentages.
As, contrary to the European part of the kingdom, studying in the US including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico does not imply residency afterwards, the chance of staying there is much smaller. The fact that English is the mother tongue of most students plays a role, although the growing trend at Dutch universities has also been a switch from Dutch to English as language of instruction.
It’s been argued that government should only provide study financing for professions needed here. Some prioritising seems sensible and takes place, but ultimately this is about these youngsters being able to develop to the maximum of their potential.
And whether they abandon studies or stay abroad, the importance of offering such an opportunity both academically and to broaden their horizons otherwise should not be underestimated. Let’s face it, their future is for them to decide and whatever path they choose will hopefully make us proud.

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