How to prepare for your time in the Netherlands

Moving to another country is not for the faint of heart. It is important to make sure you are well-prepared, take it from an international student!
Posted by Paulina
From Mexico

Moving to another country, whether permanently or for a temporary study programme, is certainly not for the faint of heart. It is important to make sure you are well-prepared, take it from an international student!

How you prepare for your time abroad can often depend on where you are travelling and which programme you are going to be studying. There are various things you can do to prepare for your time in the Netherlands before you take on this educational journey.

Make sure you have all your documents

Even if you already submitted the necessary documents for your application and got accepted, it is recommendable to have those documents (transcripts, CV, English test results, etc.) with you. It is wise to keep a digital copy of your passport/visa/residence permit, as well as to print out your proof of enrolment for your studies and your housing agreement. If you are non-EU/EEA, you may also need a legalised certified copy of your birth certificate to register at your municipality (check on the municipality website beforehand!). I would suggest you bring a folder with all your personal and academical documents with you. You may need some to register at the municipality and obtain your BSN (citizen service number), open a bank account, hire services like health insurance, or get internships.

Find housing

It is very important to find housing before you come to the Netherlands. In my experience, this is very difficult if you are a student and if you are not yet in the country. Landlords often prefer people who are in the country and have stable jobs over students and Dutch students often prefer other Dutch students to internationals. You should try to find housing almost as soon as you submit your application. You can check if your university offers housing assistance. It is better to take that than to risk not finding housing. Take a look at the Study in NL website for more tips!

Why are you learning Dutch? Connect with people. Spend time productively. Prepare for travel. Just for fun. Boost my career. Support my education. Other.

Try learning Dutch

Although Dutch people speak very good English, it canĀ“t hurt to try to learn the language. Learning a new language is a way to immerse yourself into a new culture and to understand everything going on around you in a new country. Plus, it is always appreciated when someone at least tries to speak the language!

Be open-minded

One big part of going to another country is that it broadens your horizons. You will come to a new place, a new culture, and be with people from all nationalities and backgrounds, so you have to be willing to be very open-minded and adaptable. You have to be willing to co-exist with people who come from all corners of the world while, at the same time, adapting to the Netherlands. It is always nice to give something back to the country that is opening its doors for you and one way is to befriend locals and adapt into the everyday culture.

I wish you all the best of luck and a great time in the Netherlands!

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