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Degrees taught in English in The Netherlands, any experience?

(17 Posts)
Hecho Thu 16-Mar-17 15:03:59

Hi, we're planning ahead a little for our oldest, mid-teen child. We live in Europe, and are concerned at the possible level of fees we'll need to pay or loans we won't be able to apply for UK universities post-Brexit. We're exploring other possibilities, and in the course of this have learnt some apparently very positive things about Batchelors degrees, taught in English, in Dutch universities and other Northern countries such as Germany, Denmark, etc. Does anyone out there have any experience of this? Children or friends applying, already there, graduated. What are your experiences and what things should we be considering? What other questions should I be asking? Anything really! Thanks

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 17-Mar-17 15:18:03

Not personal experience but a friend's daughter studied to become a vet in Budapest (taught in English). The fees were around £3k and living expenses were around £3k too. There were students of all nationalities there and English seemed to be the common language that they socialised in.

She is now a qualified vet practising in Denmark (she is half Swedish) and living with her Danish husband.

She would be able to practice here too.

flipflop67 Sat 18-Mar-17 10:40:41

We live in Ireland and my dd is applying for BA courses in dance in the Netherlands. They are all delivered through English.

We have found the process quite straightforward. She has to audition of course but also go through a central agency called studielink with her applications. We found the websites of the schools very clear and all have both the option to translate into English and a section for international students. There's also a "fee wizard" which will calculate the fees you will have to pay.

She has been accepted into one course and has three more Dutch auditions to go.

wotevs Sat 18-Mar-17 18:23:50

We live in the U.K., DS studying art in Amsterdam (now in his second year). He's happy with his decision but it's been expensive for us and complicated.

Tuition fees are around 1,500 euros a year. You have to pay upfront at the start of the year. You can then claim it back from the Dutch government. BUT - you can only do this once you are registered as a resident. You can't register as a resident until you are in registered accommodation. Some accommodation isn't registered, or he stayed in one where his room wasn't registered (they just rented out the spare room without declaring it). It's notoriously difficult to get accommodation. He had to live in a hostel for the first month or so. The upshot was he didn't get into officially registered accommodation until after January so missed the deadline to apply for the loan to be paid back to him. I'd advise paying the fee to join one of the accommodation sites (30 euros or so?? One-off fee I think). They're best placed to find you accommodation and the longer you're with them the more priority you get.

He gets nothing from the UK government of course, so we have to pay rent and living expenses. Rent is on average 300 euros per month. Be prepared to pay a months' rent as the initial deposit too, so double rent for the first month in effect.
It's not a cheap place to live. He does have a part time job - just pot washing - and he bought a cheap bike to save on transport costs. You can pick second hand bikes up for about 40 euros and everyone uses them.

He found it hard to make friends at first. He's outgoing and resilient, so I don't think it's him that's the problem (he's made friends in other situations easily). They don't seem to have much student accommodation and that seemed to be the problem. So he had to put up with long periods of being alone - he's happy with his own company, but my other DC, for example, wouldn't cope with that.

Health insurance has also been complicated. You need a special EHIC card, which they will only issue once you have a written letter from the Uni confirming what they're studying and the dates of the course. Then you need Study Abroad insurance on top of that, which requires them to still have a UK address and have evidence of returning to the UK (we didn't know when he was returning so had to book a cheap flight just as 'evidence'). Read the small print in health insurance - lots weren't suitable. If they get part time work it's a legal requirement to take out Dutch health insurance - which also isn't cheap but apparently they can claim payments back (haven't sussed that out yet!).

So, lots and lots to consider. Plus, this is all info based on him still being an EU citizen. Sorry for the long post, but I'd have liked to know all this in advance. It's definitely do-able and he doesn't regret it smile Just not as straightforward as we thought!

Pemba Sat 18-Mar-17 18:54:30

DD and some of her friends did an Erasmus year in Amsterdam as part of her degree, she also met 2 other girls from British families who were planning on doing their whole degree over there (one a BA, one Masters). While overall she did enjoy her time in Amsterdam (fantastic city), she did find the system very different to that in the UK.

There is not as much of a student social life as there is over there. I think maybe because it's more the custom over there for Dutch students to live at home and attend their local uni? She was housed in a block with other exchange students mainly and met people from all over the world, but not any Dutch - well she did make one Dutch friend.

They don't seem to have the long holidays we have over here during a university year, the course started at the beginning of September and finished at the end of June (if I remember right), there were 2 weeks off for Christmas and no time off at all for Easter. There were 2 semesters, the second one began at the end of January right after the first one, from what i recall there was no break. The course was taught in modules which happened one after the other, always with an exam at the end, then on to the next lot of modules. As there were no breaks (except at Christmas), no reading weeks etc., the pace was pretty relentless.

Because of this she didn't really have time to explore the country much or travel out of Amsterdam, which she assumed she would have (thought that was part of the purpose of Erasmus)? A bit disappointing. She did score good marks for the year though, but I'm not sure how much it counted towards her degree.

A lot of the modules were very interesting, and there was a wide choice. They were taught well in English. However it is far more common to fail a module over there, a thing which doesn't seem to happen over here if you work diligently. The Dutch students didn't seem phased by this. There is little guidance from academic staff or student support. Both of her British friends trying to do whole degrees over there eventually gave up because of this, and reapplied next year in the UK. The Dutch university didn't seem bothered about students dropping out. It is just a different mindset I think.

She is still glad she did it though, even though it was not exactly what she was expecting.

Her friend trying the undergraduate degree was from a British family living in Europe - like you? and had attended international schools. At least her abandoned Dutch degree didn't cost her much (I think as she dropped out before the second semester she got her fees back). But now she is studying in England she has been able to get a student loan for her fees only, not living expenses. It is proving quite expensive for her family.

flipflop67 Sun 19-Mar-17 00:22:26

That's all really interesting to read. I guess because I'm not in the UK it's a different story for us. If DD were to go to college here we would have to pay fees with no grant or loan so it doesn't look so bad.

I'm just wondering is the EHIC a different one from the regular card we have for travelling in Europe?

dotdotdotmustdash Sun 19-Mar-17 14:45:24

My colleagues daughter did her degree and masters in Maastricht and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hecho Mon 27-Mar-17 14:31:30

I've only just seen all your replies! Thanks so much, a lot of interesting information here; and aspects I hadn't thought about, such as the bureaucracy. Best of luck to all the kids you mentioned, whether in the UK or abroad.

user1484040234 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:35:32

anyone have any experience of University of Twente? It's the only Dutch campus university and therefore we are thinking it's better socially than the other Dutch universities for overseas students.

user7214743615 Mon 27-Mar-17 18:25:41

Twente is quite a long way from the central cities of Amsterdam/Utrecht/Leiden/Den Haag, both physically and culturally. I wouldn't personally want to go there rather than to the international cities of Amsterdam etc.

The University is OK in some fields but it is not as strong as Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Leiden.

And while it is a campus university this doesn't mean much as most students will still live at home rather than in student accommodation. BTW the other Dutch universities do all have campuses, and lots of activities on their campuses, even though different faculties are often spread at different locations around the city. For example, the University of Amsterdam has a nice student centre on the campus in the very centre of Amsterdam, which also contains the university library etc.

user7214743615 Mon 27-Mar-17 18:33:29

If you really want a campus experience, with students living together in student accommodation, then look at the University Colleges such as AUC in Amsterdam.

user1484040234 Mon 27-Mar-17 21:16:07

Thanks user7214743615 , looking at Mechanical Engineering. The only places that do this in English (I think) are Twente and Eindhoven. We have done both open days and my son preferred Twente. He has also applied to UK universities. Unfortunately Delft only do it in English at MSc level.

user7214743615 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:48:38

Beware that the stronger places (such as Delft) have not switched Engineering to English because they can attract good home students while the weaker places switched to English to get more students.... I don't know which UK universities you are looking at but look at research rankings to compare them with Twente/Eindhoven.

Many UK universities are ranked in the top 100 in the world. Twente is around top 300-400. This does affect the value of the degree in the marketplace.

user1484040234 Wed 29-Mar-17 13:39:16

Hi 7214743615, Twente is 151 in the Times world rankings, flanked by Russell Group Unis Sussex and Liverpool ( if you select to look at UK and Netherlands together) , so not bad at all. If you look at the research ranking, Sheffield and Glasgow are just above it and a whole clutch of Russell Groups below it! A Masters from here in Mechanical would be eligible for CEng status too (I've checked).

Yes, it's below Oxbridge and Imperial, but academically appears to be equivalent to a Russell group university. The course contents are very similar to the Unis here. We have visited twice, but I was wondering if there are any Mumsnetters who have experience or know someone who has gone there. Thanks

MyOtherDogIsAPorsche Wed 29-Mar-17 19:41:14

We also live on mainland Europe and my dd is applying to study in the Netherlands for a degree being offered in English. Lots of her friends are also applying, worried by the step into the unknown that Brexit represents. As an EU student, my mutuelle tell me her health insurance is very straightforward and just continues as it always has. Can't see it being any more difficult than going to the UK tbh.

user1488581876 Fri 31-Mar-17 09:58:07

Yes, it's below Oxbridge and Imperial, but academically appears to be equivalent to a Russell group university.

I would have little concern over Twente or Eindhoven's academic reputation or international rankings.

For example, Eindhoven is currently ranked 121 and climbing in the QS World University Rankings. While it is currently jbehind Southampton (87 steady), Sheffield(84 falling) and Birmingham(82 falling) it is almost a certainty that these posotions will be reversed within a few short years and well before your DC graduates.

Also, uncertainty over future collaboration and future funding in the UK mean many top researchers are looking elsewhere at the moment. I would have serious concern over the future rankings of many in the Russell Group. In five to ten years time, Russell group universities will likely drop considerably in international rankings. Oxbridge and Imperial will probably be fine but other RG universities will tumble down the rankings.

The one concern I would have regarding Twente is location. Enschede is a bit of a backwoods culturally and economically. Eindhoven, while quite provincial, is better located.

user1484040234 Thu 06-Apr-17 13:23:12

Thanks user1488581876 , I looked at the Times ratings for Mechanical Engineering. I agree Eindhoven is better located. Twente, however, has the preferred course (the Eindhoven one is Automotive Engineering and is in practice a mix of Mechanical and Electrical rather than just Mechanical). Yes, UK universities are very reliant on the EU in terms of staff, collaborations and funding, specially in science subjects. There is so much in the press about Brexit and the NHS but not about the impact on medical research etc

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