This blog is meant for students from NorthWest Missouri State University that are considering to study in The Netherlands at the Hogeschool Zuyd, or for others that are interested in studying in The Netherlands

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Can I get a job while studying in The Netherlands?

This might well be the biggest difference between studying in America or in The Netherlands. International students in The Netherlands are allowed to work for 10 hours while international students in America aren't allowed to work except on campus.

A lot of international students in The Netherlands work and most of them have jobs at a restaurant, a pub, or a call centre agency.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Culture Shocks

Studying abroad or even just coming to The Netherlands will bring along some culture shocks. You'll be confronted with many new and unknown experiences. It may not be easy to keep an open mind all the time. It may, in fact, be a real shock!
Below you can read more information about customs and etiquettes in The Netherlands.

The Weather
The Weather is something that's talked about a lot in The Netherlands. Many conversations will begin with "Nice weather, isn't it?" or "It just won't clear up, will it?". What do we learn from this? If you want to start a conversation with a stranger, talk about the weather. It's the best conversation starter and it can't go wrong. Many people complain about the weather, but most Dutch wouldn't want to live in another climate.

Introducing yourself
Dutch people meeting each other for the first time do not usually wait to be introduced. They hold out their hand to shake, make eye contact, say their name, and listen for the name of the other person. Traditionally, the person who is older has higher status extends their hand first, but the younger or lower status person says their names first. If for some reason a lower status person extends their hand first, they will first ask permission to introduce themselves. In a growing number of situations, however, people behave as equals, so that names are often spoken simultaneously and no one hears them clearly.

Coffee is an essential part of Dutch life. When the Dutch invite you to their homes, they often promptly serve you a cup of coffee or tea. Is this a hint that you should not stay too long? Quite the contrary: In the Netherlands, a steaming 'kopje koffie' is a hearty welcome.

Dropping by unannounced
The Dutch almost never visit each other without making an 'appointment' first. This includes close friends. Even a mother will phone her daughter to find out when it's convenient to come by. People almost never drop by unannounced.

Getting straight to the point
When the Dutch have to discuss a difficult topic, their usual approach is to plunge right into it. They hardly even take the time to sit and relax. They do not gradually work up to the difficult subject, but come straight to the point. To you this probably makes a blunt and tactless impression.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A look at one of the three locations

Zuyd university (Hogeschool Zuyd) is one of the ten largest universities of professional education in the Netherlands. It has over 12,000 students and 52 different study programs divided over three different cities in the south of The Netherlands. Maastricht, Sittard, and Heerlen. Below you can find picturse of the last named location.

A letter home

After being in the States for 2 months my roommate, Jeroen, and I decided to send an email to our home school to inform them about the differences between our home institution and NorthWest. Below you can read an English translation of that letter.

At the moment we've been here for almost 2 months. We have encountered various "culture shocks". NorthWest Missouri State University has been our home for the last 2 months. So far we have had a lot of classes already and we had our first exams last week. Eventually it comes down to the same stuff as at home, you get homework, go to class, and take exams, except with a few differences here and there.

In the Netherlands you pick a major and get a certain "course package" that comes a long with it. You don't get to choose your own classes. Normally students at NorthWest take around 4 or 5 classes per semester. NorthWest offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from scuba diving and golf to web publishing or English.

You're required to go to all your classes; some teachers will tell you that you can miss 1 or maybe 2 classes. Not going to classes will affect your final grade in most cases. At first we thought the teacher at NorthWest were very strict, compared to the teachers we had in The Netherlands, but after while we found out that they were willing to help you with anything, even outside class time. We also saw teachers that were standing in front of class in shorts and t-shits, something you won't see in The Netherlands. But the teachers are nothing compared to the American students. During the morning classes, especially those that start around 8 am we found out that students like to wear there pyjama's and flip flops to class while bringing there morning newspaper and a cup of coffee. This might have well been one of the biggest "culture shocks" so far. The first time we went to class we decided to go early. So instead of going at the time class starts we actually went 5 minutes early. When arriving in the classroom everyone else was already there, even the professors, and we thought we were late. It turned out that the classroom would normally be full around 10 minutes before class and students would ask their professors several question before class. While back home we are used to going to class at the time it starts or maybe even be late.

The way professors teach is the same. A lot of professors use MS PowerPoint and at NorthWest there's a system called eCompanion which is almost the same as Blackboard which we use at the Hogeschool Zuyd. Exams are different though. While in The Netherlands we don't get pop quizzes, at NorthWest you do. There are also more tests during the semester. It all comes down that in the States you need to read a lot outside of class while back home in The Netherlands we can just open our books a few weeks before the final. Studying takes a bit more effort in the States than back home, but it makes it easier to do the final exam in the end.

In America there's a different grade system. They use letters to grade instead of numbers. In The Netherlands the best grade is a 10, and the lowest would be a 1. While at NorthWest the best grade would be an A and the lowest a F. While students in the Netherlands are happy when they get a D, students in the States aren't. The better grades they get to more things they are allowed to do at school or the less they have to pay for school.


This blog has been created to inform NorthWest Missouri State University students what it is like to study in a foreign country and in particular my home country, The Netherlands.

First off though, I should introduce myself. My name is Egon Heidendal and I'm currently living in The Netherlands. You're probably wondering why I should be the person to inform you about why you should study abroad. During 2004 I myself studied abroad at NorthWest Missouri State University and it was an experience I will never forget.

At this blog I will address several topics which will mainly point out the differences between studying in The Netherlands and studying in America. Beside the actual studying I will also address topics about traveling and the nightlife.