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Studying in The Netherlands(11 Posts)
DS has just had an offer to study at the University of Amsterdam, a 3 year degree course taught in English.
He is really keen (he has just submitted his UCAS form as a back up), but I am not sure.
Has anyone experience of Dutch universities? How does it differ from the UK undergraduate experience? What are the pros and cons of studying abroad and in the NL in particular?
Will he be an EU or a non-EU student, and does this have an impact on the fees?
We live in China and several students from ds's school went to study in the Netherlands. Some did not enjoy it as university was quite small (think it was Utrecht) others wanted to get a part time job and couldn't as they didn't speak Dutch (can always learn!). Heard also from one mum that the they needed to supply all the furniture for the student accommodation. Cheaper than the UK.
Anyway - these are anecdotes, not data!
living costs are high. rents are up there with london levels (possibly even higher).
it's a myth that everyone speaks english and that students get by only in english.
all jobs (even english speaking roles) have basic dutch as a requirement.
We live in the UK, so Brexit may or may not have an impact on fees.
We will be funding his university education and living costs in The Netherlands.
There has been a bit of a backlash against the Anglicisation of Dutch universities, as it's claimed it disadvantages Dutch students. Universities have been restricted from increasing the numbers of overseas students further, and there have been court cases where pressure groups tried to stop other universities in the Netherlands from teaching in English. I know someone who studied at UvA and didn't speak any Dutch at all, not even basic tourist stuff - she (rightly, imo) got a bit of flak from locals about it. It's worth knowing about this context if planning to study there.
Generally Dutch universities offer good quality education, and many will be roughly similar in terms of quality of education. In that sense, you can't really go wrong, but if your son has Oxbridge potential, then he might be better off going there.
While Dutch universities offer a lot of courses in English, it is important to remember that many of the staff are not native English speakers. While some (many?) will be used to conducting research in English, collaborating with international colleagues and might have been teaching courses in English for a number of years, others will simply have been told by management that the course they have been teaching for the last twenty years now needs to be taught in English. Your son will need to be prepared to possibly be taught by people whose English is not perfect, and to be surrounded primarily by students for whom English is a second language. Some of this will be different again if he is planning on studying for a Liberal Arts & Sciences degree, which has a different set up from most university courses.
Apart from that, will the university offer accommodation to first year students? Many universities do not, and finding housing in the Netherlands (especially Amsterdam) can be difficult for Dutch students, let alone for international ones who don't know the housing market. If your son has to find his own place to live, then make sure he becomes aware of the local rules and regulations, Dutch regulation tends to be stricter than in the UK, for example around how much rent landlords are allowed to charge.
This all sounds a bit negative, but I can highly recommend doing a degree abroad. I moved from the Netherlands to the UK to study (because I wanted a change of scenery rather than for any concern with the Dutch education system), and I believe it does help young people stand on their own two feet, learn new life skills, and become independent even more so than if they move within the UK to go to university.
Thank you Alaimo, that is a lot of useful information and food for thought. Am I right in thinking that students in the NL get a rent rebate from the government?
Do you know how health care works for students?
While some (many?) will be used to conducting research in English, collaborating with international colleagues and might have been teaching courses in English for a number of years.
In the modern era, the number of researchers in a top level university who don't research in English is vanishingly small.
What you write here would have been much more of an issue a couple of decades ago. It is really not an issue in the modern era where publication in English is essential to get research funding, talking at international meetings, working abroad for a period is essential to get a permanent position.
While Dutch universities offer a lot of courses in English, it is important to remember that many of the staff are not native English speakers.
Neither are many academics at UK universities, including top universities such as Oxbridge.
Bowbridge. Rent rebate (/housing allowance as it's sometimes called) is generally not available for international students as it is only available if you rent a self-contained apartment, not if you solely rent a room. I think you also need to be an EU-resident, so it could be that UK students are excluded post-Brexit. That's my understanding of the rules, but it's probably best to check with the university, as they'll be up to date with the latest regulation.
Health insurance is also complex. If your DS only studies in NL, I don't think he needs to take out Dutch health insurance, but he would obviously want to make sure he is covered in some way (EHIC, or private insurance). If he has a part-time job in NL, then he would be required to take out Dutch health insurance. Again, best to check with the university as they'll have had to answer this question hundreds of times.
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