So you’re studying abroad in the Netherlands! Welkom to the Netherlands, the low-lying region with the high-ranking student life! Settle in and kick back, while we give you eight of the greatest reasons why studying in the Netherlands will top your educational experience.
8Studying abroad in the Netherlands: life by bike
It’s hard to describe the exact feeling that comes from gliding along on a human-powered transport machine, where the only limits are your leg muscles (okay, and the sheer amount of rust on the bike).
Not all bikes are created equal in the Netherlands – don’t buy a lemon to avoid scenes like this.
But, this indescribable feeling is even greater in the Netherlands when you are surrounded by other humans on these mechanical steeds, a flock of twisted metal, dinging bells, and the occasional squeaky brake, bumping over the cobblestone paths or sailing along the designated red aisles, knowing that you are truly the king or queen of the road. Even better, ride with a group of friends to feel like a true #bikegang.
Remember, man versus car always loses, unless you’re living in the Netherlands. What a nation!
7Studying abroad in the Netherlands: #StudentLyf
Ever wanted to get drunk on cheap crated beer, then dance a conga line singing a traditional tune? Welcome to a Dutch student party.
Dutch students in their native habit, celebrating after a successful drink at the local watering hole by dancing the peculiar social ritual: polonaise.
The Dutch are great at being students, which makes student life in the Netherlands particularly leuk. Being an international-student is even more fun, with various societies set up to help you fully integrate into Dutch study life – The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) run heaps of activities all over the country!
Even better, studying abroad gives you the best cultural exchange possible. And while the Dutch aren’t particularly known for their national food, their historical attraction of migrants has given a gastronomically diverse culture – and some of the best kebabs in town – perfect for when you get a little van de kaart (off the map drunk).
And the bonus? No expensive taxis home. Just try to keep your balance on your bike (and don’t get caught by the politie!)
6Studying abroad in the Netherlands: Engels, Engels, Engels
Studying in a foreign country? Geen probleem! The Netherlands continually scores in the top three of non-native speaking countries for the English proficiency! What does this mean for the foreign student?
Well, when studying, as long as your English is prima (we’re looking at you Spaniards and Frenchies!), you will be able to understand your professors, and even turn in assignments*!
* Disclosure: the ability to turn in assignments is also directly associated with how much beer you drink the night before the due date.
The Dutch’s English talent also means they have one of the largest offerings of English-taught courses in continental Europe. Why are the Dutch so good at English? Find out here!
5Studying abroad in the Netherlands: Nederlands, Nederlands, Nederlands
“You only speak one language?!” – Every European ever.
On the flip side of the Dutch/English equation: if you’re a American, Australian, British etc. and are jealous of all of these Europeans and their ‘bilingualism’ from ‘being culturally aware and diverse’ there is an upside: learning Dutch is one of the easiest languages for native-English speakers to learn.
So if you want to return from your European study-abroad and show-off to your friends back home how European you have become, just slide a few words into sentences to remind them of your ultimate far-reaching superiority. Example? See this article.
4Studying abroad in the Netherlands: a chance to open your mind (and see new colours)
The Dutch have had a long reputation for their relatively relaxed attitude towards drug use. The famous (infamous?) Dutch coffeeshops are an excellent example of this (don’t expect a caffeine hit).
But other drug use is also common. In fact, a 2017 study showed the Netherlands had the top use of MDMA and amphetamines in the European Union. The Dutch’s pragmatic approach to drugs recognises that it is impossible to stamp out all drug use in the Netherlands, instead shifting the focus to responsible consumption. The results? The legalisation of marijuana purchase from licensed coffee shops, and anonymous pill-testing clinics – gratis!
Light up your brain and find out some myths about drugs in the Netherlands.
3Studying abroad in the Netherlands: travel inside and out
Studying in the Netherlands and sick of dining on bitterballen and kaassouffle? Need a little break that’s further than a bike-ride away? Welcome to the excellent transport links of Western Europe!
Hop on board Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) train service, for direct links all over the country! What’s that? Tickets are far too expensive? Don’t jump the barrier! Find out the tips and tricks to the cheapest train tickets available!
For an even further journey, thank your lucky stars that the Netherlands isn’t an island, making bus journeys the option of choice for the young student traveller! There are multiple cheap bus lines that offer direct and indirect connections to cities all over Europe. Or, hop on a flight with an array of low-cost airlines (if you don’t mind carry-on luggage and squishy seating arrangements!).
2Studying abroad in the Netherlands: progressive and diverse
If you’re looking to broaden your horizons and outlook, the Netherlands is a great option. The country has an excellent reputation for progressiveness and acceptance in relation to drugs, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and sex. However, this isn’t the same for all of the Netherlands (check out the Dutch Bible-Belt for examples).
1Studying abroad in the Netherlands: top-notch education
Last, but certainly not least, we can’t go without mentioning one of the best reasons for studying in the Netherlands – the education is truly great!
Many of the Dutch universities are ranked among some of the best in the world, so when you’re not riding your fiets, drinking your bier, speaking different languages, experimenting with recreational drugs, travelling, or enjoying the progressive life of the Netherlands, you’ll be getting a top-notch education.
Studying in the Netherlands? What did we miss? Tell us the best parts about studying in the Holland below!