Canals, tulips, and windmills are just a few things you'll spot while spending high school abroad in the Netherlands. It's also a chance to learn more about European history, like the story of Ann Frank or Van Gogh's artwork, or experience one of the most bike friendly countries on Earth.
Although the Netherlands is a popular destination for teen travel tours which often include it as one of several stops on their itinerary, there are also opportunities to spend a longer time abroad here as an exchange student or through a summer course.
The beautiful countryside and the exciting city life of Amsterdam provide a gorgeous backdrop for a lazy Sunday catching up on reading or hanging out with new friends from all over the world.
The Netherlands is great for students who love bikes and history, or who want to study in a more off the beaten path student destination in Western Europe.
If you think The Netherlands is the right fit for you, you can chose from:
- Teen travel tours
- High school exchanges
- Cultural immersion programs
Don’t worry; you don't need to have any prior knowledge of the Dutch language for any of these programs.
Teen Travel Tours
Teen travel tours let students learn about The Netherlands while exploring the country and its most famous landmarks. Often, students will visit The Netherlands in addition to other nearby destinations like France, Belgium, or Germany. The itinerary will be based off one cohesive academic them, such as history or sustainable living. The most popular times for these types of trips are summer vacations and spring breaks.
High School Exchanges
Totally immerse yourself in the Dutch culture by living with a local host family and attending a local high school for a year or a semester. Choose from living in the countryside or in the city and feel what it is like to be a local. Weekly excursions are available to see as much of this beautiful country as you can.
Cultural Immersion Programs
If your passion is museums, art, and culture The Netherlands is the place for you. Amsterdam being one of the many cities in this small country housing dozens of museums filled with art that is hundreds of years old. Many artists, like Vincent van Gogh viewed The Netherlands as a muse sparking ideas and visions to produces some of his most famous pieces of work. Allow this country to become your muse by sinking into the food, art and the traditions of The Netherlands while filling up your college application with experiences of your lifetime.
Most travelers immediately think of Amsterdam when planning to spend any amount of time in the Netherlands. However, depending on your program, you might actually end up spending most of your time elsewhere. With high school exchanges, for example, you could end up living in one of the Netherlands' smaller towns.
Student visas are required for stays longer than 90 days. Programs will assist with visa paperwork and processing, however you can apply ahead of time online.
Depending on the program you will stay in a dorm-like facility with meals and a shared room or a host family. Host families are carefully selected by the program managers and interviewed. Because The Netherlands sit between two different countries, most residents have a vast knowledge of many different languages including English, so families will be easier to communicate with.
The Netherlands is one of the pricier destinations in Western Europe however you can budget for 50 Euros per day on the high end. Since the programs account for most food this budget will be more for personal expenses, and it's likely that you'll end up spending much less than that.
Some programs include airfare however if not, a flight can be found for anywhere from $400 - $1,300 depending on the time of year.
Program costs will range from $8,000 - $14,000 according to the time and semester you wish to participate in.
When packing for study abroad in the Netherlands, you can mostly pack as you would for a trip back home. However, you should also include:
- Good rainy weather gear (like a jacket and boots), especially in the fall or spring.
- A power converter
- A reusable water bottle
- A daybag
- A Kindle / Kindle app on your phone is also nice to have but non-essential.
For teen travel tours, keep your luggage minimal. A small backpack and a larger duffel / a 30-45L backpack and a bag big enough for a laptop should be more than enough. Avoid bringing a suitcase, as those are annoying to lug up flights of stairs in elevator-less hotels.
In general, the Dutch are very mild-mannered and nice and the country as a whole is very safe. The Netherlands has a low crime rate -- less than half that of the United States and is dropping every year. As you would anywhere, however, be sure to watch your bags in crowded spaces.
Also, the rumor that marijuana is legal isn't actually true. It is still illegal and not allowed in public areas and heavily controlled, especially to minors. Don't land yourself in jail abroad -- avoid it.
No vaccinations are required to visit The Netherlands, and there are no special health risks to be aware of.