5 Great Tips for Studying Abroad in The Netherlands

Although there are a number of opportunities for third level education in Ireland, students have also looked to studying abroad in The Netherlands. The Netherlands is an example of Irish applicants applying to universities outside of Ireland. If you as a reader are an upcoming Irish student looking to study in The Netherlands, here are 5 great tips for studying abroad in The Netherlands for your studies. 

Studying Abroad in The Netherlands – 1) Pick A Course of Interest and Follow All Application Requirements/Instructions

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Before deciding to study abroad in The Netherlands, you should firstly pick a course of interest that best suits you as an Irish student. The Netherlands with it being situated in Continental Europe is among Germany and Denmark with being the most popular choices amongst students to pick when studying abroad.

This is because entry requirements are lower than Ireland’s, with 90% of the Dutch bachelors programmes needing six passes in the Leaving Certificate (the final exam taken in secondary school in Ireland), with two subjects at higher level. This would mean attaining at least a H7 (39-30%) for the two higher level subjects and at least a O6 (49-40%) for each ordinary level subject out of the six subjects taken for the Leaving Certificate exam so the given Dutch university can accept your results.

Courses will also require documentation such as a copy of your passport, a copy of your Leaving Certificate results, and may also have course specific requirements like a motivation letter or interview process. Check the relevant university’s website you wish to attend for more course specific information on entry requirements.

Studying Abroad in The Netherlands – 2) Research Your Specific Area Near the University of Choice

As another prerequisite to moving abroad from Ireland to The Netherlands, Irish students should also do research around their local area. You can certainly use Google and Google Maps to begin with, but sources like OpenStreetMap for instance, should also be consulted and Dutch applications such as 9292 for public transport information on the bus and train services. This research can also be used to explore nearby amenities and tourist attractions like bars, museums, restaurants, and the like. 

Your selected Dutch university also has attractions unique to each of them and information about them more in depth on their respective websites.

Studying Abroad in The Netherlands – 3) Arrange Housing Well in Advance

A major issue for Irish students (and all other nationalities) studying abroad in The Netherlands is finding accommodation. Within the city of Utrecht for instance, 4000 international students annually apply to Utrecht University (UU) as mentioned earlier, the University of Applied Sciences (HU), and/or the Utrecht University of Art (HKU). Students are given housing options through student housing companies/agencies and then through their own searches through housing forums such as Kamernet and Housing Anywhere

If this is left too late in the moving process, students risk the likelihood of homelessness or having to stay in hostels short term until they find a place. 

Studying Abroad in The Netherlands – 4) Work Out A Budget Plan for Cost of Living

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The cost of living in The Netherlands is among the more expensive countries in the world to live in. Totalling out at €1609, its cost of living is 1.82 times more expensive than the world average, ranking in 19th place out of 197 countries. However, it is cheaper than Ireland in a number of areas, including rent prices (a contentious issue Ireland faces as part of its own housing crisis) by a margin of 23.9%. Where it is more expensive is in grocery prices being 1.5% higher than those of grocery stores within Ireland, which can pose a problem to Irish students on a budget. 

Having a poorly laid out budget (or no plan at all), could lead to financial consequences for Irish students in the long run.

Studying Abroad in The Netherlands – 5) Learn Dutch Prior to Moving to The Netherlands for Part-Time Work

It is possible to attend college in The Netherlands with no knowledge of the Dutch language, but you will be at a disadvantage if you don’t know any Dutch. One area this is disadvantageous for Irish students is in attaining part-time work accompanying their studies if they need/choose to do so. A number of service level jobs in retail and restaurants/bars do not require the Dutch language, but if you have prior work experience and would like jobs outside of service level work, they all require fluency in Dutch

This is not a requirement if you are only focusing on your studies though, as all Dutch university programmes are taught in English to Irish students and all others.

Do these all sound like strong suggestions? Are there any that you would add as an international student in Ireland or elsewhere in the world? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

Matthew Lehane
Matthew Lehane

An upcoming MA graduate in New Media and Digital Culture in Utrecht University, with a BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies from IADT, and a QQI Level 5 qualification in Arts, Culture, and History from DFEI. The topics written (and edited) to date for Babylon Radio range from film, tourism, and photography, with a broader range to come during this internship and in future work.

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