Going abroad and embracing a study programme is a very challenging but fruitful experience for students. Studying abroad has become significantly popular among students. The British Council revealed that the number of students who go abroad as part of their degree programme has increased by as much as 39 percent. Worldwide, there are a growing number of opportunities to study. It is always hard to decide where to go for your studies abroad, but StudyPortals.com is a very useful website, as it includes extensive programme information from many universities worldwide.
Students that decide to study in the Netherlands will have a great experience. The Netherlands is an amazing country which has a lot to offer for international studies. Now that I have been living in The Netherlands for four years, I can totally recommend the Netherlands for studying abroad. Its a great country with many things to offer. The following 7 reasons might convince you that the Netherlands is the perfect study destination for your studies abroad.
1. International and multicultural
Some may ask why study in the Netherlands? but with boat trips on canals and lakes, lazing on beaches, enjoying the view of the woods, a moderate climate and the crossroads where the German, British, French, Chinese and many other cultures meet, others would say Why not? Further, most Dutch universities have student international associations that help students throughout their studies.
International students from all over the world come to study in the Netherlands. In 2014/15, international students came from a total of 157 different countries, mostly from Germany, China, Belgium, Italy and Spain. The Netherlands is a unique non-English speaking country, where approximately 95% of locals speak English. This factor makes living, studying, and working in the Netherlands very more convenient, comfortable and pleasant for international students. Many international companies have departments in The Netherlands due to the favourable economic conditions. This feature helps students at Dutch universities by opening up possibilities to gain internships at many of these companies and allowing them to create their own professional networks for their future careers. The Netherlands is also a very open and tolerant country, which welcomes everyone to share their opinions and express themselves. This is very encouraged during your studies.
2. Affordable study costs
Studying in the Netherlands is not that expensive, compared with other English-speaking countries such as the UK or the USA. Dutch higher education is subsidized by the government and tuition fees are relatively low. With the countrys renowned standard of education and comparatively low cost of living, studying in the Netherlands will give you true value for money. Annual tuition fees for a degree programme or course at a Dutch higher education institution start at approximately 1,900 EUR for EU students and 6,000 EUR for non-EU students, depending on the institution. Further, if you decide to have a side job besides your studies, you can also declare these expenses, and get some money back from taxes. How cool is that? In addition, many Dutch universities offer grants and scholarships that can reduce or fully cover the tuition fees of study programmes.
3. Affordable living expenses
Compared with other western European locations, the cost of living in the Netherlands is relatively low. From my own experience and from my friends, you will need between 800-1000 EUR per month. Which you can combine with side jobs and obtain study finance. Further, if you are an EU student you can work 32 hours a month and be eligible for a 265 EUR grant and a student OV-Chipkaart for free public transportation either during the week or weekends.
There are many useful websites for students to find student accommodation such as Uniplaces and Student Housing in Holland. I do advise you to start looking for accommodation early because there is a huge demand for student accommodation. From my experience, the best months to start looking for accommodation when starting your studies in September, are May, June and July. Definitely dont wait until August, you will end up either finding expensive rooms or low-quality rooms. Further, I recently heard about Furnit, a start-up in the Netherlands, that make moving much easier for international students, providing personal service and support.
As a student, you can also get discounts in many bars, restaurants, museums and cinemas. You can get around town easily on a bicycle. This is not only typically Dutch but also a cheap means of transportation. You should definitely ask for an ISIC Student Card to get many more benefits and discounts.
4. Innovative teaching methods
Something that is every beneficial from the education system in the Netherlands is the fact that there are different types of universities. There are plenty of science universities but there are also universities of applied sciences, which provide a more narrowed study degree. For people who prefer more insights into practical issues, a university of applied sciences might be more attractive. These focus more on practical experiences and less on theoretical and research matters.
The Dutch educational system is of high quality and universities are acknowledged worldwide for their well-designed, modern courses and facilities. The teaching style focuses on teamwork, which makes it easy for international students in the Netherlands to meet Dutch people as well as other international students. Dutch universities place a strong emphasis on good personal relations between professors and students. 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. Dutch universities include many practical elements in their degree courses. There is a high emphasis on relevant practical experiences, and universities have a lot of partnerships with Dutch companies as well as international ones.
5. Wide range of educational degrees in English
The Netherlands is known as the first non-English speaking country in which universities started to design higher education study programmes in English to attract students coming from abroad. More than 2,100 English-taught study programmes and courses are available in the Netherlands, covering a broad range of fields. And all programmes and courses lead to a Bachelors, Masters or PhD degree, a diploma or a certificate. It certainly does sound great: high-quality, affordable education offered in many disciplines, in an international, open-minded country. However, universities do have strict language requirements if you come from a country where English is not the native language. As an international student, you are required to take the TOFEL, IELTS, or a similar English language test. You should check the university where you are planning to apply, for more details about their requirements.
As I mentioned, the Netherlands is a very international country and very convenient for international as most people speak English. Nevertheless, I think its always valuable to take an introductory Dutch language course to at least pick up the basics. Many universities in the Netherlands offer Dutch languages courses for internationals. But you can also use other online resources to find language courses such as LanguageLearningPortal. And definitely use the new cool language apps available and dictionaries to ease your stay in the Netherlands.
6. Internationally recognized degrees
The Netherlands has also been recognized as a knowledge center with rich study traditions and well-known universities. Scientific research done at Dutch universities is very highly valued at both the national and international level. Education in the Netherlands meets all international standards and is well-reputed worldwide. A diploma from a Dutch university provides an opportunity to start ones own business and can be very useful in terms of having a successful career in any country of the world. The most recognized universities in the Netherlands include University of Amsterdam, Leiden University and Utrecht University. Personally, I also recommend Maastricht University, it is also highly accredited and has a very effective teaching method called: project based learning. It makes you be very active, participate, work in teams and focus on real life problems.
7. Transportation the gateway to Europe
The Netherlands is centrally located in Europe and is in easy reach of all major European cities. The Netherlands is often described as the gateway to Europe. It takes only about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, or London. Further has great connections and accessibility by train to all major European cities.
The Netherlands also has a well-developed and connected transportation system and various discounts for students make travelling quite affordable. As mentioned, when working 32 hours a month, you can also get a student OV-Chipkaart, which gives you access to free public transportation. This makes it very convenient and cheap to explore the whole country. Further, you will love how easy and close is to get around with a bike the preferred means of transportation of the Dutch, but also the cheapest one. You can encounter peace, confidence and tranquility, as there are own road for bikers.