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25 Things You Did Not Know About Studying In The Netherlands

According to Stats, 49 percent of students say that universities in Netherland are the best alternative for Int’l students compared to the UK and this article will guide you on what to do before applying to study in any school in Netherland. The country is best known for its flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills, and cycling routes. There is another catch, however, with some of the oldest universities in the world, and one of the first countries in continental Europe to introduce English-taught courses, the Netherlands has started to get a lot of attention for its highly ranked, prestigious medical schools, engineering schools, law schools, and business schools.

There’s more to the Netherlands than you normally see and hear, so here are the 25 things you probably did not know about studying in the Netherlands.

  1. Universities in the Netherlands rank high in the world rankings

The Netherlands may not be so popular but the universities and colleges in the country are not as obscure. According to the Times Higher Education list of best universities globally for 2021, there are Ten Dutch Universities and colleges in the global best 100. The country’s highest-ranked institution is the Wageningen University and Research which ranks 59th best globally.

2. There are lots of English taught courses

The Netherlands has one of the largest range of English language programs in non-English speaking European countries. Almost every university has an English version of programs taught in Dutch. Lecturers are usually bilingual and can interact with English-speaking students easily. So expect to feel at home with lecturers and students alike.

3. There are three types of Universities

Dutch universities are divided into 3 main groups: Research universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, Institutes for International Education, and other institutes. Their classification is based on the type and level of study programmes they offer, although all of them have a wide range of education options available in English.

4. Tuition fees are fairly expensive

Sorry to burst the bubble so early. While tuition fees in the Netherlands may not be as expensive as in some other places in Europe, they are not exactly cheap either. International students from Europe are expected to pay around $1984 to $4409 on tuition per academic year. For international students from elsewhere, a budget of around $6613 to $22,000 will do.

5. There are scholarships to help with that tuition

If you are already thinking of giving up on studying in Holland because of the tuition fees, you may want to hang on a little longer. There are lots of scholarships to help with that tuition fee and even much more. Some of these scholarships are government-funded, or by the university where you will be studying. See the video below and other resources on AfterSchoolAfrica for a list of scholarships in the Netherlands.

6. There are restrictions on work-study options

 Non-EU international students are allowed to work a maximum of 10 hours per week during academic periods. They are allowed to work full time in the months of June, July and August. EU students on the other hand are allowed to work full time all year.

7. Health insurance is not mandatory

The Netherlands is one of the few countries where health insurance is not mandatory for international students. This is as long as you do not work. Once you get a job, whether part-time or full-time, you are required to register for health insurance.

8. English is widely spoken in the Netherlands

Studying in the Netherlands almost feels like studying in the UK. About 80% of the population in the Netherlands speaks fluent English. Communicating with the locals will be easy but you may want to learn some Dutch, no harm in learning a new language.

9. There’s a unique way of learning

Universities in Holland teach in a unique way. It is interactive and the students are taught not just to think for themselves but to work together in groups. Most tutorials and seminars take place in small groups of around 15-30 students. Most of your coursework will consist of group work, developing not only your academic skills but also your ability to work together as part of a team.

10. The people are very warm and welcoming

 The Dutch carry on their daily lives with a “live and let live” attitude that can be seen in the diversity of their surroundings. Tolerance has become an integral building block in Dutch society. Amsterdam is an example, it is a city filled with tourists, international students, and people from diverse backgrounds.

11. Amsterdam is one of the best student cities in the world

Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands’ most popular student cities. The open-minded and multicultural city is home to more than 100,000 students from different parts of the globe. Amsterdam is known for the many pleasant student associations and there is always one for you. The vibrant characteristic of Amsterdam can be found in the many trendy, fun, and affordable restaurants and the coziest food & lifestyle spots.

12. The cost of living is relatively low

A budget of around $880 to $ 1100 a month would suffice for accommodation, food, and utilities in the Netherlands.

13. A multi-cultural environment

There were international students from over 157 countries studying in the Netherlands in 2018. Studying in the Netherlands exposes you to different cultures and different people.

14. Get ready to bike

If you did not learn how to ride bicycles as a kid, you may want to learn that now before applying to study in the Netherlands. The Dutch are bike lovers and there are lanes dedicated to bikes alone around the country.

15. Active and Healthy Lifestyle.

The Dutch rank among some of the healthiest people in the world. This is due in large part to healthy activities they engage in like cycling around their cities, sports, and other physical activities. As an international student in the Netherlands, you will have ample opportunities to join other students in groups or teams to play sports or just exercise.

16. Dutch foods are everything

 Stepping inside any Dutch pastry shop is also likely to have you drooling. Stroopwafels, pancakes, apple tarts, and licorice make up some of the Dutch’s favorite snacks. Your study abroad in the Netherlands is not complete without having at least tried poffertjes, tiny powdered pancakes, or oliebollen, the Dutch version of the doughnut.

17. A small country with plenty of places to explore

Within the Netherlands, international students can find some of the most beautiful, unique cities in the world. Stroll along the canals of Amsterdam, visit the ports in Rotterdam, or gaze at the beautiful architecture of The Hague.

18. Explore Europe with your student visa

The Netherlands is a party to the Schengen agreement that allows freedom of movement for forbearers of passports of member states. With your student visa, you get to explore up to 26 countries in Europe.

19. Get two master’s degrees for the price of one

According to state regulation, if you pay the statutory tuition fees for your first enrolment (in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree) and decide to enroll for a second degree at the same time, you will be exempted from paying any tuition for your second programme. This is only possible in public universities though.

20. There were over 85,000 students in the Netherlands in 2018

In 2018, there were 85,995 international students in the Netherlands. Germans make up the largest population of international students in the Netherlands, having an estimated 22,584 students there. Chinese and Italian students come a distant second and third respectively.

21. TOEFL is required for courses taught in English

It is essential that you speak, read and write English well. You must have passed an English language test. IELTS and TOEFL are commonly accepted, but institutions may accept other tests as well, like Cambridge English.

22. Most international students live on campus

When it comes to housing most international students tend to live on campus. However, campus spots are quite limited. If you don’t move fast you might have to opt for sharing an apartment with several other people, as most Dutch students do.

23. Weekdays are for parties, weekends for studying

Sounds weird right? Well, welcome to Holland. Traditionally in Holland, most parties and other student shenanigans tend to take place during weekdays whereas weekends are devoted to studying and visiting family.

24. International students can live and work in the Netherlands after graduation

Holland offers advantageous visas for international students who want to stay and work after graduation. With the Orientation Year for Graduates Seeking Employment you can spend up to one year looking for work in Holland, and you can stay as long as you have that job.

25. Friendly weather

The weather in the Netherlands is mild and friendly. There is little sunshine for most parts of the year with plenty of wet and windy weather. Get your umbrella and rain boots ready and enjoy all that Holland has to offer.

There you have it. 25 things you probably did not know about studying in the Netherlands. Would you like to study in the Netherlands? Or do you have experience studying here? Tell us about it in the comments section below. If you are yet to subscribe to the After School Africa channel, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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