Going abroad is one of the most important, but also the best, decision every student makes, and I can assure you that no student has ever said otherwise. From meeting new people to making memories and being independent, it accentuates who you really want to be. As someone who has lived in a few countries around the world including America, Canada, Pakistan and Tanzania, the greatest choice I have made is to start a new beginning in Holland (the Netherlands) after high school. There are a plethora of reasons as to why the Netherlands is an excellent place for you to grow professionally and personally! So, it goes:
The Netherlands has one of the highest number of international students as all universities offer study programs that are taught in English. The degree received from these universities is internationally recognized which is so helpful for when you look for a job, even outside of the Netherlands. Most Dutch University of Applied Sciences has a practical approach where you learn how to apply the theory learned in class to real-life situations and have opportunities to work in companies, to get the work experience. The teacher-student relationship is informal so there is an interactive teaching environment.
The internationality makes you feel right at home! Without a doubt, you would find people from your home country, but you also encounter a variety of cultures. Meeting different people is a way to build a network, work on your communication skills and learn about different ethnicities, i.e. it’s so useful for when you work in companies. It’s also an advantage to make friends from different parts of the world, so you can go visit their hometown 😉
Everyone speaks English
Although the official language is Dutch almost 95% of the population speaks English, so therefore not knowing Dutch isn’t an issue! There isn’t a language barrier, and this makes life so much more comfortable for those coming from abroad. As nervous as you might be, the people in the Netherlands welcome all internationals and you can easily have interesting conversations with the locals.
Affordable for students
Compared to most of the neighbouring countries, Holland is very affordable for students whether they are from an EU or non-EU country. It is also quite easy to find student-jobs to help finance your stay, and like the previous point made, if you don’t know Dutch it isn’t a problem. Education is prioritized so when you look for a part-time student job, they will be flexible with your work hours too.
As of 2019, the Netherlands is the 5th happiest country in the WORLD according to the UN happiness report. They take the GDP, life expectancy, social satisfaction, generosity, freedom and support into consideration and this shows how gratified the people living in Holland are with their quality of life. Celebrating King’s Day or Liberation day shows how the Dutch just need a reason to go out to have a full day of partying and enjoyment with their friends and families.
Gateway to Europe
Referring to its central geographic and economic position in central Europe, the Netherlands is often described as the gateway to Europe. It takes only about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Venice, or London. It’s also possible to take a weekend away with your friends and drive up to different cities within a few hours!
The opportunities in the Netherlands are overwhelmingly incredible and what makes it even better is that people are willing to help you get to where you want. Whether it's for education, diversity, or the people you meet, the Netherlands will become your home away from home.