Living and studying in the Netherlands – Expectations VS Reality

Studying abroad – a dream of many students. But does the reality that we face correspond to the dreams that we dream of? Before deciding whether or not to take this huge step, a lot of students tend to look at the good and bad sides of the country they are going to and the possibilities that are standing before them. However, this does not prevent them from getting very high expectations that can sometimes be overshadowed by the cruel reality.


As I was in the same boat as them, before coming to the Netherlands I had a totally different perception about how the student life will occur. Firstly, the time that I was in the Netherlands as I tourist influenced my decision on where to continue my academic education. After I chose the university that suited me the most, I started looking at all opportunities that were before me and I tried to make use of them all. Before coming to the Netherlands I thought that I would be travelling into a different city every weekend, discover interesting places, meet new people and a lot more things that every student wishes for. However, everything went perfectly until I came here and started living the adult life.


Living and studying in the Netherlands showed me that all that I was wondering that I would experience there was manageable but not a hundred percent feasible. Uni required a lot of dedication and it was not as fun and games as it seemed to be. Living there was a totally different story from what I expected. Back home I was always around my family and friends and I had less responsibilities than here. First off when I was coming back from school there was always warm home cooked meal that was waiting for me. Another thing that made me feel extremely homesick was hanging out with my friends at literally any time of the day. Aside from those things the thing that gave me huge anxiety was the adulting part of the whole “living and studying in the Netherlands” experience. From paying taxes, applying for allowances, arranging health insurance, getting a DigiD and opening a bank account. Everything seemed so terrifying at first taking into consideration that most of the things were explained in Dutch only. Luckily with the help of friends all these things were conquered and I did everything successfully.

As a conclusion from my personal experience with this situation I would say that whatever you are expecting to happen while you study in the Netherlands won’t necessarily come true, since there can always be some barriers that can show up on the way. However, the wisdom that you will gain along the journey would make you grow as a person and transform you from a lost teenager to a responsible adult.

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