Studying in the Netherlands: The Takeoff
As hard as it may be, making the decision to study abroad might be the most beneficial experience for a soon-to-be university student.
By choosing to study in a foreign country, you will gain valuable experiences, which will help you build complete independence and prepare you for the inevitable adulthood (yikes!). But choosing the right place for you is also extremely important, and here today I will explain why the Netherlands might be the best choice for you and what you need to know about finding and enrolling into a study here.
#1 Why study in the Netherlands?
I know… studying abroad is a big step and it means basically changing your entire life. But that doesn’t mean it will change for the worst! On the contrary, it means that you will get to experience something completely different and get used to being out of your comfort zone. You will be exposed to new cultures and meet people from all over the world. But why choose The Netherlands specifically?
Well, first of all, the Netherlands is known as one of the best countries to choose for studying. Here, you will find top universities in technology, communications, and much more! The study programs are unique, ultra-modern, and internationally oriented, with a high focus on relevance to contemporary work opportunities. Another major reason why the Netherlands might be the best choice for your studies is the large variety of university programs that are available in English, which (hate to break to you, but) you wouldn’t normally find in most countries of the European Union.
Next to that, another reason worth mentioning is the international community. Here, you will find people coming from all corners of the world, which means you will find yourself in an environment where people are going through more or less the same experiences as you. This, in turn, will make it a whole lot easier for you to make friends, as you will already have something in common with most of the people you meet. In plus, the locals are very much used to this wonderful international community and are very open to it as well. The language also plays a big role - nearly everyone in the Netherlands speaks English, which means it won’t be so hard to make friends among the locals either.
#2 Finding a study program
Decided that the Netherlands will be the country of choice for your higher education studies? Then, it's time you take a look at the study programs here! Luckily, all information about this can be found online, as the Netherlands is one of the most technologically advanced countries out there. Do make sure to do your research well before choosing, by carefully reading all information at hand and even getting in touch with current students who are already enrolled in the study program you would like to follow. This will help you gain a lot more perspective into your choice, as well as important insights into what you can expect from your study. Some of the most popular universities in the Netherlands are Erasmus University, TU (Eindhoven and Delft), University of Amsterdam, Maastricht University, and University of Groningen.
It is also important to pay attention to the location where you will study. While most universities are located in cities with a strong student community, some might not be located in such places, which will make it a bit harder for you to find student housing or make friends. So, do pay attention to that too!
#3 Tuition costs
Higher education in the Netherlands can get pricey. Depending on whether you come from outside or inside of the European Union, the costs for your studies may vary tremendously. While university tuition fees for EU/EEA or Switzerland-based students range between 700 and 2.100 EUR per academic year, students coming from outside these areas can expect costs between 6.000 and 15.000 EUR per academic year. These costs are based on bachelor's studies, for master’s they can get even higher! As such, it is very important to check the costs for your program directly with the higher education institution you are interested in joining.
The good news is - the Dutch government is also here to help! A number of merit-based scholarships are available to international students, which can help take off the financial load you will have to carry when moving here to study. In addition, for EU/EEA and Switzerland nationals who move here to study, the Dutch government also offers student grants and loans as a helping hand for your financial overload. Recently, the government has decided to half the tuition fees for first-year students who meet certain requirements. Check here for more details: https://www.government.nl/topics/secondary-vocational-education-mbo-and-higher-education/tuition-fee-refund-and-loan/plan-to-halve-higher-education-tuition-fees
#4 Enrolling in a Dutch university
Now that you found out which study program you'd like to follow and the costs for it, it's time to enroll! Yay! Make sure to check carefully all the entry requirements for your study. These may vary from one university to the other and depending on the specialization. As a rule of thumb, first and foremost you have to make sure you have a residence permit if you are not an EU / EEA or Swiss citizen. In addition, you will have to present a minimum average of 7 - 7.5 on your foreign diploma. If you are going to study in Dutch, you will have to prove you have a good command of the Dutch language before you enroll. Similarly, you are looking for an English-taught program (and are not coming from an English-speaking country), you will most probably need to prove your English skills by taking a specialized exam (for example IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge). Some universities will also require you to provide a recommendation letter (or more!) from your current teachers. Make sure to check these requirements before enrolling!