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Should the UvA become fully English?

Henk Strikkers,
1 februari 2019 - 13:13

Should the UvA position itself as an English-language university? We asked our university panel of students, professors and staff members. Join the discussion and leave your comment below. 

The UvA should choose English as the language of instruction

Ralph Wijers, Professor of Astrophysics

‘Multilingualism is a reflection of valuable diversity and bilingualism is the minimum we need to maintain. We should hold on to the Dutch language because we are Dutch and it a cultural asset and communication channel. We should hold on to English because we are a leading university and we need to communicate with the whole world. We want to provide access to a world of knowledge and we want to be a window to our land. In an ideal world, each country would promote its own language while also giving high priority to English as the language in which we can all reasonably understand each other. It’s important that the UvA respects its mother tongue while making all its studies and institutes accessible to students and academics from all over the world.’

Jean Rwasibo, controller at the Administration Center

‘Internationalisation is an important aspect and engine of the development we know as globalisation. The UvA has positioned itself as an international university through exchange, cooperation and promotion. This is a good thing, but we are in the Netherlands. Promoting our native mother tongue is important and, moreover, a sign of sovereignty. For a successful professional career in an international context, I believe we have to maintain bilingualism.’


Patricia Pisters, Professor of Film

‘Absolutely no. I am very fond of the English language and our international staff, but the Dutch language should not completely disappear as the language of instruction. For all the benefits of internationalisation, there will also be the ‘hassle’ of bilingualism, such as big investments in translations. We should offer international staff to learn Dutch.’


What do you think? Join the discussion and leave your comment below.