Studying abroad is one of the boldest, most exciting ways to change up your life completely! Studying in the Netherlands means opening yourself up to a new culture, new people and a new environment – what’s not to love? Whether you’re just planning your future or you’ve already received your admission letter, you may already be tremendously excited about your stay. But before you head out, there are some things you can learn, that will make your visit more pleasant. Here are the top 5 tips to know before your arrival, that can make or break your student experience.
- The peculiarities of the Dutch education system
One of the bigger surprises you may have is the months you’ll study. The study year lasts from September till the end of June, leaving a mere two months of summer vacation to enjoy. Any internships can additionally shorten that – so prepare to work through some summers, while your friends back home are already celebrating. On the other hand, there are many exciting degrees available in English and the quality of studies would make you wish you could study for the entire year!
- Think of where you’ll stay ahead of time
Figuring out how to find student accommodation, that’s both affordable and close to where you need is one of the significant hurdles of your budding student life. Most students are part of student houses, where the place is shared with others, and the rent is split, totaling about €400. Some cities have a shortage of student accommodation or a massive influx of students so that the rent can go as high as €800. Universities can help with the process of finding apartments for international students by negotiating with private landlords on their behalf. Be aware that the waiting lists can get very long and have a specific timeframe for applying. It’s typically best to start looking for a place as early as you can, independently, to maximize your chances of finding something you like.
- Student health insurance in the Netherlands
One of the more vital aspects of your stay here is making sure you’re insured, in case of an emergency. Health problems aren’t always easy to predict, so insurance that you’ll be fine, and get the treatment you’ll need is still helpful to have. A good tip here is to go for private insurance since public healthcare options are typically more expensive and are only required when you’re planning to work. The work you put into finding a suitable private healthcare insurance provider means you’ll be able to worry less about that aspect of your life.
- Cycling as a way of life Cycling is a great way to get around while also keeping fit and healthy. The Netherlands has cycle paths around for more than a century, showing their dedication to this mode of transportation. One of the first things you should do when you arrive is investing in a good bike – it’s the preferred way of getting around by the Dutch. A good bicycle in combination with an OV card is likely all you’ll need to get around affordably and comfortably, otherwise prepare yourself for a lot of traffic.
- Expensive living depending on where you come from, living in the Netherlands may seem quite expensive once you arrive. It’s essential to be aware that with the high quality of life and the many options at your disposal, it still costs quite a bit to stay here. The cumulative costs of food, taxes, rent, and healthcare can quickly add up to get you into the negatives. To avoid that, plan your budget well and take it seriously – living within your means is a great way to ensure smoother sailing in your student years. There are different government programs, such as rent allowance in the Netherlands, to help you along the way.
Following these five great tips is a way to make your stay in the Netherlands a dream come true.