Here's a step-by-step plan on how to find your way as a student in the Netherlands!
Studying in the Netherlands can be so much fun as well as open doors you never knew existed. The Netherlands is home to some of the best universities and universities of Applied Sciences in Europe. These are institutions of learning that shape the curious minds of millions of young people who go on to become seasoned professionals in different fields every year.
While studying in the Netherlands may be fun and all, it is also serious business! You have to dot your I's and cross your T's, making sure that you don't just finish your studies in flying colours, but you don't become homeless due to financial difficulties as a result of the loss of your part-time job or just careless spending.
Here is a step-by-step plan for every beginning student:
Choosing A Study and Enrol On Time:
Of course, I'm really sure that this part has already been done by a lot of students reading this but I'm still going to add it for the ones hoping to start next school year. It's always wise to attend open days (events where universities open their doors to aspiring students), ask questions and get to know if you and the school are a perfect fit. It's also possible to do a career choice test if you don't know what you want to study yet. You can register for your study program via Studielink and for most studies in the Netherlands, this has to be done before the 1st of May. Sometimes only a limited number of students are admitted (numerus fixus) into certain courses (like Medicine). For these studies you often have to register before January and only when you have paid your tuition fee on time will your registration become final.
Accommodation: Home Or Studios?
As a student you can continue to live with your parents or look for your own apartment or room. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. For example, you save money when you stay with your parents, but you may also have to travel for long if you don't live very close to school. Moving into student rooms costs money, but also gives you more freedom and space to truly be yourself.
Take Out a (Student) Health Insurance:
If you're above 18 and intend to study in the Netherlands, it is very important that you have health insurance. For basic health insurance you pay around € 100 per month and as a student you almost always have the right to health care allowance. How much health care allowance you get depends on your income. You receive a maximum of € 86 per month.
Note: Apply for health care allowance via: Student Health Insurance.
Check Your Data:
If you're not staying with your parents but in rooms/studios, make sure you pass on your new address to the necessary authorities. Your new address is automatically forwarded to the Tax Authorities but you still have to pass it on to your new municipality and this means going to the City Hall to do that. Also make sure your bank, dentist, doctor, health insurance company, and employer have your new address. It is also very important that DUO (the government body responsible for student grants) has your address and bank details. In order to receive your monthly student grant, they need your account number. Your educational institute should also have your address.
Make A financial Overview:
It is quite handy to calculate your expected income and expenses before you dive into the student world. Make an overview: how much do you earn every month? Your sources of income could be your part-time job, a scholarship, a (small) contribution from your parents and also your health care allowance. And what do you spend them on? Your expenditure could include, your tuition fees, rent, health insurance (and other types of insurance), study books, groceries, clothing and fun things like going out, weekends away, hobbies, etc. Making a financial overview helps you know what's coming into your account a d what's going out. It also helps you decide if you want to save or not and how best to be frugal.
Apply For Student Finance/Grants:
So how did your financial overview go? Did you find out after your calculations that you could use some more cash? This is where you apply for student finance from DUO - the body responsible for student grants in the Netherlands.
Study finance consists of:
A student travel product: free travel during the week and with discount during the weekend (€ 91.62 per month in 2018).
Possibly a loan (up to € 870.46 per month in 2018).
Possibly a supplementary grant - depending on your parents' incomes.
Possible tuition fee credit for paying your monthly tuition fees (average € 167, -).
Always remember that loans must be repaid, so watch how much you ask DUO for. The student travel product and any supplementary grant will be a gift if you complete your study within 10 years.
For more information on studying in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands), check out our Guide to Studying in Amsterdam.
Good luck with your studies and may the force be with you!