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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has been judged the best overall Dutch university by international students. Eighty per cent of international students would recommend the UvA, an increase of 10% compared to 2011.

These are the findings of the International Student Barometer (ISB), an independent survey in which international students were asked about their experiences at foreign universities and universities of applied sciences. The satisfaction levels of international students at the UvA has increased over the past year: 86% are satisfied or very satisfied. Last year the figure was 81%.


The ISB assessments are made on the basis of three main categories: Learning, Living (living) and Support. 

Learning, Living and Support

According to the ISB, 83% of the international students are satisfied with the teaching (‘Learning’) at the UvA,  making it the highest ranked university in the Netherlands. The UvA performed particularly well with scores between 90 and 95% in the ‘Learning’ subcategories: ‘Academics’ English’, ‘Size of classes’, ‘Expert lecturers’ and ‘Multicultural’. There are also areas under the ‘Learning’ category where the UvA needs to work hard to make improvements, as students are less satisfied about these aspects, including ‘Careers advice’ and ‘Work experience’.


The UvA is ranked second in the Netherlands in the ‘Living’ category, with an average satisfaction of 73%. The University scores above 90% in the subcategories: ‘Safety’, ‘Other friends’ and ‘Transport links’. However, the UvA performs less well under ‘Social facilities’ and ‘Financial support’. One noteworthy point is that in the subcategory 'Finding accommodation' – which has traditionally been a problem, although a great deal of work  gone into improving this situation in recent years –foreign students have ranked the UvA as the best university in the Netherlands.


The UvA is ranked first in the Netherlands in the ‘Support’ category, with an average satisfaction of 85%. This includes issues such as academic counselling, IT support, and medical facilities. 

Monitoring teaching and support services

The UvA uses the ISB to monitor the experiences of international students with regard to teaching and support services, and makes changes where necessary. The results are also used by the UvA for its internationalisation strategy. The data obtained from the ISB will also be used by Universitas 21 (U21), the international network of 24 leading research universities (including the UvA) from fifteen countries, for its international benchmarking. 

About the ISB

The International Student Barometer is the largest annual survey of international students worldwide and is compiled by the International Graduate Insight Group (I-graduate). The study was conducted in 24 countries. This year, eight Dutch higher education institutions participated in the survey.