You’ve just left everything behind – friends, family, (probably) the love of your life and suddenly there you are at Schiphol with a stroopwafel in hand, the biggest textbooks in your school bag, clogs on your feet and “drop” in your hair, ready to study in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is an incredibly attractive country for international students and hundreds of them arrive here every year to study and this a reason why you should study in the Netherlands. The quality of education is among the best in the world, universities offer various English-language programs and studying in the Netherlands is affordable compared to countries such as the UK and the US.
A study shows that more foreign students are coming to the Netherlands to study and the numbers won’t be waning anytime soon. A total of 122,000 students from 162 countries follow a degree program at a university of applied sciences or university, according to an analysis by Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education. It is clear that the Netherlands is popular among international students and below are 10 reasons why you should study in the Netherlands.
1. Lots of English-taught programs:
The Netherlands has the largest range of English language programs in Europe. Almost every university has an English version of any programs taught in Dutch. Lecturers are usually bilingual and can interact with English-speaking students easily. In addition, more than 70% of the Dutch population speak the English language and this makes international studehttps://dutchreview.com/news/international/netherlands-best-english/nts feel at home while they study in the country. There are lots of courses to choose from and communicating with classmates and teachers isn’t a problem at all.
2. Well-taught and quality programs for cheap:
The programs in the Netherlands are highly regarded at international level. In addition, the costs for school, lodging and ‘life’ are considerably lower than in lots of other European countries. Compared to countries like the U.S and the U.K, the costs of studying in the Netherlands is very low. For example, on average, the tuition fee in the Netherlands amounts to about € 2.000 – for students from the EU and less than € 7.000 for non-EU students (excluding feeding and accommodation costs), while the tuition fee in America is between $26,000 and $50,000 per year.
3. Unique ways of teaching and learning:
The way Dutch people teach is different from other countries. It is interactive and the students are taught not just to think for themselves but to work together in groups. You develop skills such as analysis, practical problem solving, working in a team and creative thinking. Studying in the Netherlands helps you learn how to develop your own opinion after having done thorough research and also asked other people’s opinions. In addition, students and teachers are seen as “equals“ as students are encouraged to always approach their teachers, have discussions with them and ask questions. Many students find this a pleasant way of learning. All this makes studying in the Netherlands unique and as an international student, you’d definitely love that, especially if you’re from a culture where teachers are seen as “demigods” whose words are sacred and you aren’t allowed to engage them in discussions during classes, correct them if they’re wrong or even criticise their methods of teaching. Yes, I’m talking about African and Asian schools and teachers!
4. An open-minded country that welcomes international students:
I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’re reading about how open-minded and “liberal” the Netherlands is. Of course, we live in times when the political climate may be a bit different from what it was a few years ago, but lots of cities in the Netherlands are very open-minded, filled with international students who are definitely enjoying their time in the country and also learning a lot about the Netherlands and her people. Take Amsterdam as an example, it is both a city filled with tourists, international students and people from all backgrounds. It is an open-minded city where I’m fully certain that any student who goes there to study will surely have a great experience. The international students who study in the Netherlands come from 190 different countries. The Dutch are open-minded and quite direct, making it easy to make contact with Dutch people and exchange ideas. This makes international students feel welcome in the Netherlands.
5. Good world (university) rankings:
The 2018 Global University rankings show that universities in the Netherlands are among the best in the world. Universities like the Vrije University, University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University and the Delft University of Technology are among the most highly ranked universities in Europe and the world. These universities have some of the best teachers, brightest students and well-funded and highly advanced research facilities. Universities in the Netherlands are therefore well-regarded and this makes them popular among foreign students. If you’re coming here to study, don’t worry, you’re definitely in good hands.
6. The world leader in technical courses:
The Netherlands is number 17 on the list of the largest economies in the world. Some of the country’s biggest brands are; Heineken, KLM, Shell, ING, Philips and Unilever. In addition, the Netherlands is a world leader in fields such as agriculture, water management, dyke building, dredging, banking and finance, art & design, logistics and sustainable energy, etc. International students can learn more about these disciplines in the Netherlands than in any other country. Imagine how awesome it would be to do a water management/dyke building course in a country where one-third of it lies below sea level, with the lowest point being 22 feet (6.7 meters) and is constantly battling the seas with her well-built and well-managed dykes.
7. Central location on the map:
A look at the map of Europe shows you how centrally located the Netherlands is. This makes it very easy to go partying or sightseeing in countries like Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc. You can take a flight and be in some of the neighbouring countries in less than 3 hours. You can also take a train and be in the middle of Paris in less than 5 to 6 hours. In addition to the good location and good transport connections to other countries, you also get discounts on travel as a student. What’s more fun than studying really hard from Monday to Friday and then taking a flight to Ibiza on Friday night, meeting up with friends, partying as hard as you can and taking another quick flight back on Sunday night? Yeah I know, nothing is!
8. Cheap student housing:
While finding accommodation in the Netherlands (especially in the busy cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam) can be quite a hassle, student housing in the Netherlands is also very cheap. In Amsterdam for example, there are student campuses with cheap houses made out of containers for students. Some of these accommodations are rented out by corporations and the wonderful thing is that it is sometimes possible to get a rent subsidy (huurtoeslag).
9. Student Grants:
This is my favourite part of studying in the Netherlands. I’m guessing most of us have seen Facebook videos of American students who are so distraught with their student loans. Some of them are so scared they won’t be able to pay back everything they owe in their lifetime. Others are so depressed by the loans, they’ve taken to abusing drugs. Well, that isn’t the case here in the Netherlands. Students are allowed to apply for grants or student loans from a body called DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). To be eligible for student finance, however, you have to take a number of things into account. These are as follows:
- You must be a native of a country in the EU, EEA and/or Switzerland.
- You’re registered for a full-time study.
- You’re under 30 years old.
- You’ve been living in the Netherlands legally for at least 3 years.
If you meet all of the above requirements, you can apply for a student grant via the DUO. You also get free travel within the Netherlands and if you graduate within 5 years, the cost of your free transportation will be presented as a gift and you wouldn’t need to pay that back. On the other hand, if you don’t graduate within 5 years, you’ll be asked to pay it all back. Depending on your situation, DUO will give you a certain amount of time to pay your student loans back. The repayment phase is up to 15 years, or 35 years if the new student finance system applies to you. For most studies, you can receive a maximum of 7 years of student finance.
10. 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 characteristic, vibrant character of Amsterdam can be found in the many trendy, fun and affordable restaurants and the cosiest food & lifestyle spots. Of all the beautiful cities in the Netherlands, Haarlem and Amsterdam remain my favourites, and as a student studying in Amsterdam myself, I’d recommend this inspiring and welcoming city to anyone planning to study in the Netherlands. Studying in Amsterdam for some international students can bring its fair share of culture shock, but the city is a diverse one and no matter where you come from, you’ll always feel at home in Amsterdam. The city has some really cool restaurants with good food, clubs, libraries, friendly people and of course, prestigious schools to make your study experience one you wouldn’t forget quickly.
So if you’re still looking for a country to study, here are 10 reasons why the Netherlands is your best bet. And for those who are starting this September, I wish you all the best and hope you enjoy the Netherlands.