PHILIPSBURG:--- On Wednesday February 15th, Minister Plenipotentiary sat with her staff, to once again address the issue of rise in the unprepared “Free moving” students, (students that travel on their own, and not through the Bureau of Study financing), to The Netherlands, in an ambitious attempt to pursue their tertiary education.
For the past months, the cabinet of the Ministry Plenipotentiary in The Hague has been encountering numerous troubling situations with youngsters from Sint Maarten, who for whatever reason, have decided to take this route.
The Minister took note that while the students, making the choice to travel to the Netherlands on their own is on the rise, quite often the necessary preparations in terms of housing, the acceptance and enrolment into schools in particular, among other things, is not completed before these ambitious students leave Sint Maarten.
Being that they independently make contact with schools in The Netherlands, they are not in contact with the Study Financing Department on Sint Maarten, and therefore do not participate in the trainings offered that help the other students prepare for among other things, the change in the social and cultural landscape of the Netherlands to which they must adapt.
In most cases, this results in these students facing insurmountable issues, where they struggle to get a grip of the situation they are in. Eventually these students find their way to the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary (Sint Maarten House), where the Minister and her staff assist them, by providing them with the necessary information required, and by contacting agencies or institutions on their behalf, and doing all that’s possible to assist them to get into school and to obtain a scholarship.
Many times this is not enough as in most cases, when they finally reach the Cabinet, they are already facing many financial issues, and many of them just wants to return to the Island. All this due to lack of preparation.
Minister Plenipotentiary Doran-York stated that as much as deciding to be a “Free Mover” as a student in her view, shows great ambition, it also requires that the individual need to do several things before venturing out.
Here are a few things that need to be considered;
1. The students need to have already done all the necessary research.
2. The students need to have applied and already been accepted in a School.
3. The students must have applied and be approved for a scholarship in The Netherlands.
4. The students should already know where (at whose residence), they will be residing until they obtain their own dwelling, and how they will be contributing financially while staying there.
5. The students should be able to take care of themselves financially while awaiting their first scholarship payment.
6. The students must have the discipline to stick to their original plan to study, while finding themselves for the first time on their own without parental supervision.
Minister Plenipotentiary Doran-York admonishes the “Free moving” students not to lose hope but to continue striving hard to achieve their set goals. She said that her Cabinet has been, and will continue to assist these students and any other Sint Maartener needing assistance in The Netherlands.
Persons after making contact with the Cabinet, are given the needed encouragement in order to pursue their goals, after which contact is maintained and their progress monitored.
As it pertains especially to students, they often times return to the Cabinet, in order to proudly report on what they have achieved academically.
Minister Henrietta Doran-York however, reiterated the fact that these students in question, should always prepare properly prior to traveling to The Netherlands, as this will make the transition smoother, allowing them peace of mind in order to be able to pursue their studies in a correct manner without too much hassle.
Without preparing properly, these students often end up struggling on the streets, or returning to Sint Maarten very quickly, after making great financial investments with a great loss and only a debt to show for it.
In closing the Minister wishes all students in their final year much success with their studies, and encourages them not to stop there, but do all that is necessary to pursue their dreams.