This week saw many Dutch universities opening their doors for the first time since the closure in March. However, the government guidelines recommend that universities continue to provide online education as much as possible, and that only limited educational activities may take place on-site. Without a clear date for the full re-opening of universities, it is looking more likely that online learning will continue to be delivered in the new academic year, which could be a challenge for new students trying to settle-in to university life for the first time.

Radboud is a university in Nijmegen, and of their first-year students, one-in-five is an international student. We asked Radboud University whether they will be starting classes in September, and how they have been supporting their students during the closure.

Not on campus, but still together

Radboud University doesn’t plan to change the start date of the academic year, but will continue to monitor the situation regarding the coronavirus. For the time being, the university has adopted the motto: on campus if possible, online because it is possible. For RU, online doesn’t mean alone. They have implemented a range of initiatives to support their students during the closure.

Each week they share a video from a student psychologist who provides tips on topics such as combating loneliness or how to deal with the pressure to be productive.

The services provided by the student psychologists have also moved online. They are offering extra consultations without needing to make an appointment. Questions are often answered by email, and they deliver a range of e-health training courses, on topics such as loneliness, mindfulness and corona stress.

Together with the sports teachers from the Radboud Sports Center, the university also provided students with home workouts that were recorded and posted on YouTube.

Additionally, Linguist Marc van Oostendorp, started a channel on YouTube together with the editors of the University of the Netherlands. During these Quarantine Colleges, researchers publish excerpts of their lectures online that would usually be delivered in a lecture hall.

The university has also taken the opportunity for community outreach, and with the support of the Radboud University Medical Center, used the Je Bent Nodig campaign to raise money for healthcare employees and healthcare research.

Although the campus is no longer the place where students, lecturers and employees meet, the Radboud community is very present and active on social media.

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One graduate from the European School The Hague’s class of 2019 chose Radboud University to complete their tertiary education studying Artificial Intelligence. Considering Radboud for your future? You can find out more about studying at Radboud on their website.

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