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How to prepare for your study in the Netherlands: 15 tips for new students

Question and Answers 23 June 2017, 08:15

Receiving the letter of acceptance from your university is a perfect news! But you still need to arrange a lot of stuff before your classes begin. You need to pay tuition fee, find accommodation, enroll in the introduction events, and much more. Best way not to miss anything is to write down all tasks into a checklist and deal with them one by one.

NHTV Breda University studentsReceiving a letter of acceptance from your chosen university is great news! But that is just the beginning of the process of getting ready for your study in the Netherlands. There are a lot of things that you’ll need to arrange before classes begin, such as paying tuition fees, finding accommodation, enrolling in introductory events, and much more.

The best way to make sure you haven’t missed anything is to make a checklist that includes everything you need to get done and then to begin tackling each task, one by one. To help new students get ready for their study in the Netherlands, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences has compiled an illustrative checklist made up of 15 crucial tips, divided into 3 important sections.

Complete your application

Upload scans of your diploma or certificate. You can apply at a Dutch university in the same year you graduate from a school in your home country. You don’t need your diploma to apply initially, but once you obtain one, do not forget to upload a scanned copy of it to the university’s website or Studielink in order to complete the application requirement.

Send an application package via regular mail. International students will submit their initial application to a Dutch university via the Internet and can prove their qualifications with digital versions of documents. However, after admission has been approved, most universities will ask students to send verified copies of their diplomas and certificates via regular mail as well.

Pay tuition fee and living expenses. In most cases, universities ask students to pay the tuition fee for one study year up front. It is sometimes possible to pay the fee in increments, either on a term or monthly basis. Either way, universities require students to be able to prove that they have sufficient finances to afford studying and living in the Netherlands for at least one year. Usually, they will ask students to transfer the sum to the university’s bank account to be held until the student’s arrival. Alternatively, a written statement from the student’s bank that proves that enough funds are available must be submitted. This step is necessary when applying for a student visa. For 2016, students must prove to have at least € 10,350 available.

Apply for a scholarship or grant. If you have enrolled in a programme well in advance, you should have time to apply for a scholarship or grant to help you pay for a part or all of your study. For example, scholarships available at NHTV Breda University offer up to € 7,500 over four years of a Bachelor’s programme.

Apply for a student finance. If you have EU citizenship or an applicable permanent residence permit in the Netherlands, you can borrow funds from the Dutch government to help you pay for study costs. Student finance consists of several loan options which can fully cover tuition fees and living expenses.

To ensure that you have fully completed your application, make sure to double-check instructions regarding the application procedure on your university’s website. Each university should have detailed guidelines that are similar to NHTV Breda University’s step-by-step application manual.

At the NHTV Open DayResolve administrative requirements

Apply for a student visa. If you are coming to study in the Netherlands from outside of the EU, you will require a student visa and residence permit. Your university will apply for a visa for you and will ask you to provide the required documents. Make sure to know what these documents are and have them ready when needed in order for your application to be processed in time for your arrival.

Find accommodation. Many universities offer rooms to students during the application process. In most Dutch cities, there are more students than rooms available which is why it is often better to accept the first offer you get, even you don’t like it. You will be able to change rooms after the first term or year in most cases. Read about accommodation for NHTV Breda students to find out more information about housing options.

Arrange health insurance. You need valid health insurance to live and study in the Netherlands. For study purposes only, Dutch private healthcare insurance or an EU Health Insurance Card is sufficient. However, if you are going to work or do a paid internship while studying, you will need additional coverage provided through a Dutch public healthcare insurer which often comes with additional costs. Ask your university’s Student Office to help you find an insurance company which offers discounts for students.

Register at the local municipality in the Netherlands. You will need to get a social service number (burgerservicenummer, or BSN), in order to open a bank account, get a public transport card, get a mobile phone subscription, and more while living in the Netherlands. You will also need to use your BSN to receive a DigiD account which is a login and password that gives you access to Dutch public services online.

Make note of emergency numbers. Hopefully you’ll never have to use them, but it is always better to be prepared in case you do. Your university’s Student Office can provide you with the contact information needed in any emergency situations. Some schools, like NHTV Breda, will also add all students to the emergency database and give them a smartcard with all of the necessary contact numbers.

Get ready for student life

Buy a laptop and study materials. Your laptop must meet several system requirements which you can find on your university’s website. They usually include having the latest versions of Windows or Mac OS and an antivirus software. In many cases, you will need to buy study software and textbooks on your own, but you are free to buy second-hand books to save some money.

Join introductory events. Universities in the Netherlands usually organise introductory events for new students in order to help them meet fellow students and the university’s staff. For example, NHTV Breda University organises Arrival Days and an Introduction Week prior to the beginning of the study term. The first lecture at NHTV Breda is held on September 5th, but on the 25th of August, first-year students are already in the Netherlands preparing for their programmes.

International prospective students in BredaLearn some basic Dutch. You are going to study in English, but you will be doing so in the Netherlands! It is always great to surprise a local or your fellow students by saying something in their native tongue. You don’t need to attend a Dutch language course to do it either! Just download the ”Hoi, Holland!“ mobile app to get started.

Search for a part-time job. EU students can work in the Netherlands without restrictions while non-EU students can work up to 10 hours per week or full-time during the summer. Many students choose to get a part-time job to gain some work experience and earn a bit of extra cash, but finding a suitable job can be a challenging task. Get ahead of the game by searching for a job in advance and read more about working while studying in the Netherlands for additional tips and information.

Meet other university students. Join student groups or student associations and attend social events to make new friends. Meeting new people will help you get the most out of your study through interesting connections and lifelong friendships!

Preparing to study in another country takes time and effort, but with this detailed checklist, you can make sure that you haven’t missed any important steps. By knowing what you need to do ahead of time and getting it done, you’ll ensure that your study and time in the Netherlands will be an unforgettable experience!

For more details regarding your first few weeks in the Netherlands, read our top 5 tips for your move to the Netherlands.

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