Netherlands Semester for Global Sustainability Past Review

By (Illinois State University) - abroad from 02/02/2012 to 07/04/2012 with

Netherlands Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to work with people from other cultures (many, not just Dutch). Yes it was worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

You have to do a lot of research on your own. There are not very many lectures per week, and they are hit or miss. Some presenters are great and others are not. They care a ton about presentation (it's a Dutch/Business thing) and less about the actual content. Be prepared to learn (on your own) how to give a good PowerPoint presentation.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was no on site administration from ISU, but the international office was helpful with many issues.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I found great housing through the Facebook page "Leeuwarden Housing Market". I lived with 3 German students studying Media at, Stendan, the University right across a plaza from my school, NHL.

* Food:

I bought my own food and made my own meals. My roommates already were good cooks so they taught me. The grocery stores have plenty of goods :) Any dairy products are especially good (and cheap) here because the region (Friesland, the Netherlands) is known for its dairy farming. it is a big industry/job provider there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everyone at school spoke English. That helped. The international program ESN (Erasmus Student Network) focused on meeting people from many different countries, not from the local area, but the leaders of the group who organized events for us had plenty of knowledge about where things were in town.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The Dutch are very health eaters and hygenic as well.

* Safety:

There is very little crime in the Netherlands.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I cooked at home, and drank at home with friends instead of buying drinks at clubs. This is much cheaper.

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? buy off-brand/store brand/not name brand food. drink at home. return your glass and plastic bottles for the refund if it is offered. Cook meals for more than one person and alternate between who cooks.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Having lecturers from the actual profession come to talk to us
* What could be improved?
  • More lectures and make sure all lecturers have good credentials.
  • Less rigid personal development to allow more time to actually attain these goals.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The most important thing I wish I knew was that I should not have had a relationship with someone from my home country while I was abroad. It was far too difficult and it prevented me from branching out and meeting all the people I could have met. It also took me away from the social scene (skype, facebook messenger, lack of need to impress European girls).