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Netherlands: Study Abroad Full Guide


Well, studying abroad in Holland is a great choice for many students across Europe. In fact, there are many study abroad programs in Netherlands and you can choose among them according to your needs. So, without further ado, let’s discover why it’s a great opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands

Education in the Netherlands attracts students from all over the world with a wide selection of English-language programs, advanced interdisciplinary areas, and rich traditions. The education system in the Netherlands is built on the Anglo-Saxon model, so studying in Dutch universities is often like studying in British and American institutions

The structure of educational institutions in the Netherlands is very multifaceted: here you can find both ancient medieval universities and cutting-edge research centers. Finally, study abroad in the Netherlands is comfortable and interesting, as it is a country with a unique atmosphere of free thought, innovation, and creativity.

Benefits of Studying in the Netherlands

An opportunity to study in English: the Netherlands was one of the first countries in continental Europe to launch university programs in full English. Today, the country has over 2,000 programs in a wide variety of areas – from bio-engineering to comparative literature. 

Therefore, to get an education, you don’t have to study the local language, as in other European countries, just enough school knowledge of English and a few months in a language school. 

The prevalence of English-language programs also had a positive effect on the teaching staff – almost 40% of teachers in Dutch universities are foreigners, which contributes to cross-cultural dialogue and provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the best professionals in their field.

Creativity and innovation: As one of the most developed and progressive countries, the Netherlands is strongly associated with innovation and a creative approach to science and education. Strong university programs in urban planning, architecture, engineering, design, and sustainable development, as well as art schools with a worldwide reputation,  has attracted progressive youth from all over the world for more than a year.

Prospects for a scientific career: State research universities offer young researchers ample opportunities for a scientific career. The developed material and technical base of universities, a great emphasis on the practical application of research results and an active scientific community make doctoral programs in applied sciences one of the best in Europe.

Higher Education System in the Netherlands

The higher education system in the Netherlands is called “binary.” This is due to the deep division of the entire education system into specialized and research areas. Research universities are classic universities, where priority is given to research and innovative development. 

Specialized universities offer quality training in technical and creative professions without a scientific bias and are aimed at preparing for professional activities. Both options are available for international students

Research education is provided at 14 state universities, as well as at some private research universities. This type of universities involves deep theoretical and methodological training, but still, most curricula are aimed at practical application, and the curriculum is built in a very pragmatic way.

The main disciplines in which research universities specialize are economics, law, medicine, cultural studies, linguistics, natural sciences, and public administration. Higher specialized schools offer education with a strong bias in practice. 

The most popular sectors of education are economics, healthcare, agronomy, engineering, and pedagogy. Since the higher education of the Netherlands was accepted into the Bologna process, training takes place within the framework of three classical levels: undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies.

1. Undergraduate

Bachelor’s programs in the Netherlands provide a sufficient basis for professional activities, because up to 60% of students stop at this stage, immediately after leaving for the labor market. 

The standard duration of study at research universities is 3 years, including preparatory (1 year) and main stages (2 years). In higher schools, the bachelor’s degree lasts 4 years, since it is supposed 2 years of the preparatory phase. 

The bachelor’s program gives the student 180 ECTS points, which is enough for international recognition of the diploma in accordance with the Bologna system.

2. Masters

Masters programs in universities in the Netherlands are distinguished by narrow specialization in specific disciplines and applied subjects. The period of study is from 1 to 3 years, which in total allows the student to accumulate from 60 to 180 ECTS points. 

For most programs of research universities, training lasts 1 year, specialties in technical universities will require 2 years. The longest three-year programs are offered in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmaceuticals, and dentistry.

3. Doctoral studies

Having a master’s degree, a student can continue his/her studies at the doctoral program. Doctoral studies involve a fairly long period of preparation – up to 4 years. The learning process includes lectures, research and writing a dissertation. 

Unlike academic traditions in the CIS, a dissertation in the Netherlands is small but rich in scientific novelty work of 150 pages or more. After a public defense, the student is awarded a doctorate. This means that the prefix “Dr.” appears in front of his/her name, which immediately indicates the highest degree of qualification.

Ability to Work While Studying

For foreign students who are not EU citizens, a special permit from the immigration service is required to work during studies. Foreigners can find either seasonal work (from June to August, full time), or a part-time position (no more than 10 working hours per week). You also need insurance and, in some cases, a certificate from the medical board.

The main trouble is that all the formalities for hiring a foreign student fall on the shoulders of the employer. The student himself/herself cannot apply for a work permit, as the employer must request it. For this reason, many employers simply do not want to hire foreigners. Moreover, most jobs require fluency in the Dutch language, which also does not favor those who come to the Netherlands to study in English.

In this regard, the practice of “black work” is widespread in the country, when students arrange themselves without official registration. So, you can compensate for a significant part of the cost of training, but the state does not guarantee the protection of the rights of “illegal immigrants”. 

So, the employer who did not pay the salary will remain completely unpunished. However, in most cases, such incidents can be avoided by getting a job by recalling other students.

Netherlands Study abroad opportunities are a great chance for international students. For more options you can check our study abroad countries category to get a better understanding and a different chances.

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