Should You Consider The Netherlands for an Undergraduate Degree?

Should You Consider The Netherlands for an Undergraduate Degree?

In the current political climate, many students are looking beyond the US and UK for higher studies abroad. In this case, I would urge such students to consider the Netherlands, which offers a wide range of over 300 bachelor’s degree courses in English for international students.

Why should I consider studying in the Netherlands?

The three main reasons to consider studying in the Netherlands are:

1) Fees:

Dutch university’s tuition fees are among the lowest in Europe. It can range from approximately INR 5-10 lacks in annual fees, plus INR 50,000-75,000 per month in living expenses.

2) Quality of education:

The Dutch government oversees education institutions in the Netherlands. This ensures that high standards are being maintained through rigorous accreditation processes. If institutions falter, the Dutch government has the power to shut schools or to oblige them to modify their management or curriculum.

3) Learning environment:

Beyond cost and quality, it is the learning environment that really sets Dutch universities apart. They have cultivated an informal academic environment, which encourages student-teacher interaction and values student participation in classes and research. Educational hierarchy in the Netherlands is flat and promotes learning through discussions, simulations and presentations rather than lectures and exams.

There are two types of bachelor’s degrees in the Netherlands:

1) Universities of Applied Science:

Known as HBOs, these are four-year bachelor’s degrees, oriented toward practical education for specific professions.

2) Research Universities:

Known as WO, these are three-year academic bachelor’s degrees with higher entry requirements. These are typically capped with a one to two-year master’s degree. Many Dutch Research Universities also offer access to unique ‘University Colleges’ which are similar to US-style liberal arts colleges. For example, at the University College Utrecht, 760 students study in a residential environment and create their own curriculum in humanities, science or social science and can elect to enrol in special programmes, such as museum studies or transnational law. These programmes offer exchanges with other universities globally and have selective admission processes.

Besides this, there are excellent study options for undergraduates in every subject. For example, Rotterdam School of Management’s triple-accredited programme offers students the opportunity to do an exchange with universities around the world, including Wharton or Ross business schools in the US. University College Roosevelt is known for its programme in art and design and offers an intensive music performance programme. Tilburg University is a leader in social sciences and global issues, while Leiden University offers students the chance to study international relations in The Hague.

What is the application process like in the Netherlands?

The admissions process varies by university, but typically includes a ‘motivation letter’ and an application form and a subsequent interview with academic staff. A test of English proficiency is required (e.g. TOEFL) and scholarships for studies are rare. Deadlines for admissions to universities in the Netherlands can begin as early as January and continue through May and offers are given on a rolling basis. Universities have a ‘binding study advice’ which means that once you are admitted, you must maintain satisfactory progress in the first year to be allowed to continue. This is true for all students, not just international ones.

Can I stay in the Netherlands after I complete my degree?

After completing a degree in the Netherlands, international students can spend one year pursuing job opportunities. This year can be taken immediately or within three years of graduation. This means that a student could return to India for a year and then go back to seek work in the Netherlands the following year. Further employment must be sponsored through an employer’s visa.

What else should I know before studying in the Netherlands?

Dutch universities boast a high percentage of international students from various countries. For example, at Tilburg University, 102 countries are represented in their 12,500 student body. Despite this, there are currently very few Indian students in the Netherlands and the majority tend to pursue postgraduate studies.

Most Dutch universities offer student housing, but it is typically located away from the campus, near the city centre. Some university colleges offer campus housing.

If you’re open-minded, independent and looking for something different in your education, check out the Netherlands for good value, high quality and a truly global learning environment. To know more, get in touch with us.

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