Traditionally, the UK, the US, and Australia have been education hubs for students; attracting the best of the talents from around the world. Fascinating campus life, university brand names like the Cambridge, the MIT, London School of business, or the Queensland University have been the primary choices. And apart from the names, the country and standard of living across them has been a major crowd puller. However, moving to these places brings along its own share of stress. It starts with higher cut off scores to sky rocketing tuition fees; and by the end of it all, for many, the dream of moving to the US or the UK stays a dream. Netherlands has been slowly but progressively becoming a major student hub with its traditional architecture, high value of living, and stress-free campuses. In contrast to the UK and the US, Netherlands is a relaxed country with a laid back approach, and this sense is critical to the student experience. People are easy to talk to and helpful; college campus have a distinct architecture which is a welcome attraction from monotonous lives most of us lead, and standard of life at par any developed economy.
Here’s why student life in Netherlands trumps that in “traditional education destination”.
You are part of the place you live
The universities in Netherlands characteristically offer fewer societies; allowing students time to take part in activities in their town or city, where they are studying. Students are encouraged to take part in co-curricular activities such as local choirs or amateur sports. Students are motivated and encouraged to help organize events like: conferences, seminars, food banks, charities or any other event of social repute. Students can use such events as a way of evading the repetitive studies and do something that is different and fresh. Most importantly, it allows you to meet people from outside the gated community of your college as ultimately you aren’t going to live in a university forever, and this comes out as a perfect preparation for your life ahead.
You can Cycle anywhere (Literally)
Imagine yourself jumping on your bike on a sunny summer’s day to cycle down Amsterdam’s canals. Pretty sublime; isn’t it? However, in Netherlands, it is a daily choir, as you have to cycle to get around, no matter what time of year. Though, cycling in chilling winds of January isn’t always idyllic, but you can’t get your daily exercise without putting any extra effort. It is like the Netherlands was designed specifically for cyclists, the open alleys, a beautiful canal, and archaic buildings; so by far, cycling is the best way to get around.
A heaven for sports fanatics
Youngsters in the Netherlands are brought up playing several sports from a young age and, unlike India, where children are forced to choose one between the studies or sports, they keep this up as they get older. Even girls are motivated to pick a game of their choice. In Netherlands, games and sports are considered an integral part of development of the overall personality. Most of the youngsters have played field hockey, football, and tennis from the moment they could walk. Their teams often aren’t associated with the college, giving youngsters another chance to grow their friend circle.
You can travel (and it won’t cost you a fortune)
At universities in Netherlands, students usually have class modules for around 40 weeks every year. This may sound hellish to Indian students who are used to a holiday after almost every few days; in Netherlands students get a maximum of three weeks off for such holidays. However you will realize you prefer this system to the one followed back home in India, because during your stay there you‘ll have to shape a diverse life for yourself. You can organize day trips to other cities or can explore your college city. The location – in the mid of Western Europe – also allow you to organize cheap weekend trips. One can easily get to Antwerp, Berlin, Cologne, or Madrid in a few hours by coach.
You will learn more
You’ll get more time for academic reading or assignments or to simply go out and witness the historic beauty of the city; reducing stress levels and means your other interests do not hamper your grades. Students in Indian Universities often complain about not having enough time to do everything they want to do. The old cliché of “work hard, play hard” really applies to Netherlands. In comparison, the students in India have to cram about 12 weeks’ worth of work into a four week term, while also doing extracurricular activities like social events or competitions. Ironically, each term at the university feels like a marathon run at sprint pace.
Although the experience of living in Netherlands can be similar in terms of costs and financial status, however, the ‘student-life’ experience is well worth the cost.