Netherlands: LGBTQ+ Rights & Advocacy

This program has been paused and is currently not being offered. View more programs from The Experiment in International Living.

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About

Begin your journey with a stay in a castle, then travel like locals with a bike tour around Heemskerk before heading to Amsterdam. See the city’s canals, visit cultural landmarks, such as the Anne Frank House and Artis Zoo, and share daily life with a local family during a homestay. Attend workshops on gender and transgender issues, marriage rights, and other topics while visiting organizations and meet with an elderly LGBTQ+ population.

In The Hague, visit the Peace Palace and stop by the Rutgers World Population Foundation, one of the oldest organizations promoting sex education. Continue to Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port city. Meet with LGBTQ+ youth and experience the city’s multicultural vibe.

Participate in a spoken-word poetry workshop and experience how poetry can serve as a tool in the struggle for equality and social justice.

Highlights
  • Leadership
  • Social Change
  • Peace, Politics, and Human Rights
  • Community Service
  • Homestay

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

10 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Growth 10
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 13
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Alicia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I changed my world view

This was such an incredible program. I learned so much on topics ranging from the refugee crisis and Afro-Dutch history to the queer and sex worker rights. We got to go to amazing museums like the humanity house and the Anne Frank House, as well as explore amazing places like Heemskerk, Vlissingen, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. We stayed in some beautiful homes and hostels as we experienced the dutch culture and spent time with new friends. I learned so much about myself and the world around me. It was so amazing to be in a queer space where everyone understood and knew about queer identity. We shared so many laughs and some amazing conversations. Those conversations truly changed the way I think about myself and my identity, and how I understand and advocate for human rights around the world. I will never forget this amazing experience.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I wish I could have more time to meet Dutch youth or go to social events with them. I also wish I could have stayed in The Netherlands longer.
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Terry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Netherlands Program- Terry

My experience in the Netherlands has to be like none other. It was my first time out of the country and is one of the best times I have ever had in my life. I was able to find my own identity while being surrounded by other straight and LGBTQ community members all working together to create more of a progressive society. I am absolutely in love with the Dutch Culture and obsessed with their fries (delicious). My highlight would have to be my time with my host mother, Vaje, who has to be the most sweetest person I have ever met. We still keep in contact and wish everybody is able to have the experience I was fortunate enough to have. PS. I have made long life programs.

What would you improve about this program?
I would just do more of thorough home-stay check because I know some of my friends did not have the best home stay mothers. But other then that, I have nothing to complain about.
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Bradie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I never knew I always wanted:

A large family. Dutch pancakes. Public transportation. The sound of the canal as I walked to school.
I never knew how much I wanted to travel abroad until I did with the experiment. My program was breathtaking, captivating, and utterly resonates with anyone identifying in and around the LGBTQ+ community. I was the only cis-straight gendered person in attendance of the program, but that made it all the more special to me. The trip was fantastic, educating, and breathtaking at every turn. I can't pick a best part. There was absolutely too many to choose from. The friends I made, the connections I created with our group leaders will stay with me forever.
You not only get a rich education, but also a cultural immersion that will leave a lasting impact on you. You get freedom, you get family, you get everything you could have ever wanted in a study abroad trip.

What would you improve about this program?
We had a few hiccups with the housing issue and host parents being closed minded. My particular experience was amazing, I was in a house by myself with my host mom who was absolutely wonderful. But others I know had a hard time and many had to be transferred.
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Cresaria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Experience

When I first signed up for this trip I didn't know what to expect. Everyone would tell me how unforgettable it would be. After going on it for myself I say the same thing to others. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else. I will remember my trip and the people I was with forever and use what I learned on it for the rest of my life. This is something that is once in a lifetime and if you have the opportunity to do something like it, always take that chance to do it. This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and would 100% recommend this trip to anyone who asked me about it.

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Neftali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Growth

This summer I went to The Netherlands for LGBTQ+ rights, human rights, and dutch culture. Although most of the trip was exciting, it was during the most challenging parts that I found out what my strengths and weaknesses are. I already knew that I wasn’t a perfect person coming into this trip, but coming out, I knew how I wanted to improve as a person, although the goal is now not to be perfect. Interculturally, coming into Amsterdam, I thought I was going to be disrespected because of my race, but I learned how to immerse myself into their culture. I needed them to know about my culture and it’s difficulties concerning my race before I learned how dutch people act. Yes, Amsterdam did inspire me to become more active, politically, in my community, but it also changed things about me that I thought were going to be permanent.
When I went to Amsterdam, I knew that the only strength about me was hiding my emotions from other people so that they felt safe. I immediately showed this strength on the plane ride over there. During the flight, there was an extreme amount of turbulence. My partner on my flight was nervous, as was I, but asked to hold my hand during the “scary parts.” Reluctantly, I gave her my hand so that she could feel better, even if it made me feel worse. I wanted her to feel comfortable and relaxed as we went there so that she could start off the trip strong. I consider this a strength of mine because it gives other people the chance to see a warm face when they’re feeling down, like a sense of calmness. I always want the best for people and if a smile could make them feel more welcome to the new country, then I knew I was doing my best to keep them feeling like home. I know that this strength makes it seem like I didn’t pay attention to my own well being, but in the times that I couldn’t hide it, I looked for the first smile in the room to make me feel like I was okay. This is part of the reason I decided to develop this strength. With my own struggles, I personally knew how it felt to be alone from home, and seeing people be okay with it, made me feel like I could also be home without actually being there. I wanted to be that person for someone else. With this strength, I practiced leadership because I knew that people could look up to me and rely on me to tell me how their day was going. Part of being a leader is guiding them to a place where they felt safe. I always wanted to make sure that they comfortable in my bubble. I knew that I’d try my best to cheer them up as best as I could.
Although people could open up to me, I would never be so open with them in return. During the trip, we got asked to share our viewpoints on topics varying from race to sexual harassment. Because my life has been surrounded, heavily, by these subjects, it took a lot of out me. I didn’t want to share out because I thought letting people in would make me look weak and that all my life experiences would categorize me in a different way. However, as the weeks progressed, I was almost forced to come out of my shell. When I did, it felt relieving to tell someone my story. My story had consisted of sexual harassment, emotional manipulation, mentally abusive relationships, and racists encounters. To everyone who heard my story, they made me feel empowered because of the experiences that I went through and to overcome the current fears I have. Even when one of my fears was showing my shoulders again, they encouraged me to have pride in what my body means and to not see myself as a sexual object anymore. Thanks to them, I am currently working on my realistic self appraisal. I know that in the past I haven’t had much confidence and before school ended last year, I hit my lowest point. Amsterdam was a time where I was able to explore how confident I was with myself, with strangers, and then my family. I cannot overcome these intense battles within a couple months, but I know that with the strong support system I developed in Amsterdam, I can always have people cheering me on.
Before I left to the Netherlands, my dad told me one thing. “Be careful about your surroundings because you’re Mexican.” Until then, I had never cautiously been aware of the position I was in because I was brown. I’ve grown up in Houston, Texas, all my life, so diversity was always around me. When I arrived in the Netherlands, I had never felt so much like an outcast. I could never relate to the stories of those around me because they weren’t as stigmatized as I was. However, that’s not to say I never had a racist experience in the past. My defense was to guard up and protect myself regarding the possibility of someone trying to harm me. This caused me to become a very worrisome traveler. As time progressed, I learned to relax myself by talking to my host mom. Through our conversations, I saw how much we had the same political and social understandings. From topics of race to sexual harrasment to education, we were able to see how alike we were, rather than how different we were. In the end, I was able to come to the understanding that everyone is human. This sounds very obvious, but it has become a super complex issue in America. I have learned to see myself only as brown through our current political situation, and nothing else. I had forgotten my value as a human and that I was worth just as much as a white person. Soon after recognizing this, I comfortably went walking in Amsterdam. I stopped comparing myself to other people thinking that they were better than me because of the color of their skin.
Coming back to America after learning my lesson was disappointing. The way people treated others with disrespect showed the complete contrast between American culture and Dutch culture. Although the dutch have Zwarte Piet, they are generally concerned with the well being of others, and most importantly their acceptances. American people, on the other hand, focus more on the differences between people and tend to pay more attention to race than the person as a whole. The dutch experience made me realize the impact stereotypes had on my life and how prominent they were in the american culture. Since then, I have tried to decipher opinions between facts and prejudices to make sure I’m getting the most accurate information about another person/party.

Santana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY

I did this program this past summer and learned so much about queer activism and about myself as a person. I learned how to navigate Amsterdam and it's complex transportation system very easily. I actually came out as transgender non-binary for the first time on this trip because I realized what gender meant to me. Also the Netherlands is beautiful, and people are very nice. And the bond you will form with your group mates will last you for a very long time. YOU WILL NOT REGRET THIS.

What would you improve about this program?
I heard that the program is potentially adding a fourth week, which is the best improvement because there just was not enough time to be in the country.
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Yaneth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

LGBTQ+ rights and dutch culture

It was honestly one of the best experiences a person could have. Not only do you get to know yourself a lot better, but you get to learn about other people who you might not ever get to meet again. I come from a town that's about an hour away from Chicago and there's not much that happens here. Being able to be there and meet dutch and american people who become family is something I would never give back. The food was great, the weather was lovely (they said it was rare but honestly it wouldn't even matter if it was raining all the time), we were able to travel in our groups of 3 to explore Amsterdam and make memories with each other. The 16 people I went with could not have been more perfect. We were all so different and similar and I fell in love with each of them a little bit. If I could go back I would.

What would you improve about this program?
Definitely needs to be at least another week longer
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Danielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Netherlands

My time on this trip was amazing. I met so many different people and learned so much from them. Learning about the rich history of the Netherlands while also emerging myself in LGBTQ+ knowledge was a very great opportunity. While there, I have made so many life long connections that have made me realize a lot of things about myself. By being able to explore Amsterdam, I was exposed to so many different types of people that have changed my life for the better.