Emerging Study Abroad Destinations – Netherlands

From our experience of advising students on higher education options in continental Europe, the Netherlands stands out for a number of reasons:

  1. Dutch universities offer over 300 bachelor’s degree courses that are taught in English – more than all other countries in continental Europe.
  2. Tuition fees are among the lowest in Europe, ranging from approximately £5,000 to £13,000 (depending on the EUR-GBP rate). The quality of education is maintained through rigorous accreditation standards set by the Dutch government.
  3. The learning environment encourages interaction in class and research.  The educational hierarchy in the Netherlands is flat and promotes learning through discussions, simulations and presentations rather than lectures and exams.
  4. You can choose between two types of universities:
    1. Universities of Applied Sciences (known as HBO) are oriented toward practical education for specific professions and offer four-year bachelor’s degrees.
    2. Research Universities (known as WO) offer research-oriented courses in an academic setting. They offer three-year bachelor’s degrees with higher entry requirements and are typically capped with a 1 to 2-year master’s degree. Many courses have a professional component broadening employment options outside the research community. Some research universities also offer access to University Colleges which offer multi- and interdisciplinary courses (similar to the holistic education at US liberal arts colleges) in a small-scale inclusive environment similar to the college structure of the Oxbridge universities.
  5. 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. For instance, a student could return to Kenya 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.
  6. The Netherlands has built expertise and now leads in many areas including agriculture, water management, art & design, logistics and sustainable energy. There are excellent study options for undergraduates in every subject. For example, Rotterdam School of Management’s triple-accredited program offers students the opportunity to do an exchange with universities around the world, including Wharton or Ross business schools in the US, while University College Roosevelt is known for its program in art and design and offers an intensive music performance program. Tilburg University is a leader in social sciences and global issues, and Leiden University offers students the chance to study international relations in The Hague.

Other relevant points about studying in the Netherlands:

  1. 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. The process for admission varies by university, but typically includes a ‘motivation letter’ and an application form followed by an interview with academic staff. A test of English proficiency such as the TOEFL is required.
  2. Universities have ‘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.
  3. Student housing is available, but it is typically located away from the campus, near the city centre (unless you are in a university college which tends to offer campus housing).

In 2017-2018, the Netherlands hosted 122,000 international students from a wide range of countries – among Tilburg University’s 12,500 students, 102 countries are represented. However, there are currently few Kenyan students in the Netherlands and the majority tend to pursue postgraduate studies. If you are open-minded, independent and looking for something different in your education, check out the Netherlands for good value and a high-quality learning environment.
 If you want more advice on applying to the Netherlands, get in touch with us.