Holland, or more formally the Netherlands, is an internationally oriented and innovative country located in the heart of Europe. This makes it ideal for people who are looking to enrich their knowledge through study abroad. Holland was the first non-English-speaking country with courses taught in English. The Dutch higher education institutions together offer 1,000 international study programs and courses which are taught entirely in English. Higher education in Holland enjoys a worldwide reputation for its high quality. This is achieved through a national system of regulation and quality assurance. Holland has also received international acclaim for its problem-based learning system, which trains students to analyze and solve practical problems independently. Education in the Netherlands is not free, but tuition fees are reasonable. The latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey shows that the cost of living in Amsterdam is modest compared with cities like New York, London, Paris and Beijing.
The most essential requirement for foreign students wishing to enter a Dutch university is that they are able to understand, speak, read and write English at a good level. They must pass either a standard test (equivalent to TOEFL 500-550 or IELTS 5.5-6.0), or a test arranged by the Dutch university. A secondary school diploma is required for entering a bachelor’s degree program. For a master’s degree program, an undergraduate diploma or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is required. Some professionally oriented programs may have special requirements, such as related working experience.
Authorization for temporary stay
If you will be staying for longer than three months, you need an authorization for temporary stay (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf, or MVV). This requirement does not apply to citizens of EU/EEA member states, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Switzerland or Monaco. The regular application procedure for an MVV may take three to six months, sometimes even longer. The Dutch host institution can apply for an MVV on your behalf using a fast-track procedure. But to do this, the institution must give the authorities a guarantee, which they sign. Institutions will not always agree to do this. But it is worth asking the institution about the fast-track procedure, because it will save both time and trouble.
Within three days after arriving in Holland, all foreign nationals must register with the local authorities. Those intending to stay for longer than three months also need to obtain a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). You may need this even if you did not require a visa to enter the country. The administration fee is rather high and currently stands at € 430 (April 2005).
In order to follow an internship or work placement in Holland, students from outside the EU/EEA need a work permit (Tewerkstellingsvergunning) in addition to their entry visa. Your employer must apply for this permit for you. You also need a work permit if you want to take paid work alongside your studies. There are two options if you want to work while you study: either less than ten hours a week year-round, or full-time during the months of June, July and August only. If you have successfully completed your program of higher education, you may apply for a residence permit valid for five years. To do this, you must have a contract of employment.
Scholarships and Financial aid are available for International Students in Netherlands. With the exception of students from European Union member states wishing to study certain subjects, foreign students are not eligible for the student grants and loans that the Dutch government provides for permanent residents. There are, however, several possibilities for obtaining funding.
The Dutch government is attempting to make Dutch higher education as accessible as possible to students and mid-career from other countries. Higher education is subsidized, which means that tuition fees can be kept relatively low, especially compared with countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Some Bachelor’s degree courses enjoy a partial tuition waiver. Students enrolling in master’s programs can sometimes apply for a scholarship. The amount varies from one institution to the next. Most scholarships are allocated before or at the time of enrolment; a few must be applied for after the study program begins.
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