Getting away from home and embracing a new culture broadens your horizons, introduces you to people of many different nationalities and can help improve your language skills – a definite plus in today's global workplace.
Students are looking to the Netherlands as a potential study destination for a number of reasons. For one, the costs are generally much lower than the UK. Then there's the beautiful country, the rich cultural history, the welcoming, Anglophile population... and that's before you even arrive at the higher education institutions.
Low country, high standards
Once you do, chances are you'll be impressed by the unique character of the Dutch education system. Many (if not all) universities embrace 'problem-based learning', a practical approach to study that's different to the UK's preference for seminars and lectures.
It embraces lots of group work, discussions and looking at issues from many different angles. If you're studying business, for example, you'll look at sociological, economical and even political perspectives to deepen your understanding of a topic.
Nijmegen School of Management (NSM) at Radboud University is a good example of the system in practice. So good, in fact, that students voted Radboud the 'Best General University' in the 'Keuzegids Universiteiten 2013' national student guide.
The school's philosophy is one of 'student-activating education', which emphasises small class sizes and a personal approach to teaching, all of which is designed to promote independence and responsibility.
Being independent doesn't mean being on your own. There's plenty of contact time and teachers are always approachable, says NSM's international recruitment and admission officer Maria Kreicere. "It's informal in terms of contact with the professors," she says. "Students can easily contact and meet any professor to talk about the course or ask for help."
Regular tutorials also mean studying is easier and more effective, she explains, particularly when you're working in groups with people from all over the world. "It opens minds. Discussing issues in international groups leads to very active debates and makes the classes more interesting; students become more confident and ready for a competitive job market."
Outside the classroom, the university’s layout makes it easy to meet and stay in touch with the wider student body. Radboud is the only Dutch university with all its faculties on one campus, which means it's easy to rendezvous with your coursemates, but also with those following different paths to you. "It all adds to the multidisciplinary education and sense of community," says Maria.
Out and about
There's also a lot for NSM students to enjoy beyond the campus – no point studying overseas without taking full advantage of the 'overseas' bit, after all. "Our students enjoy a real student city and have a special sense of community and belonging," says Maria. It's easy to see why: Nijmegen is the oldest student city in the Netherlands, with all the cafés, bars, museums and entertainment that you'd expect.
The school even helps international students get acquainted (and get a bike – you're nowhere without your two-wheeled friend in the world's top cycling nation) thanks to a buddy system. You'll pair up with a Dutch student who will show you around and be your guide to the city and the many clubs and societies NSM has to offer.
It's good to talk
Worried about how you'll communicate with your mentor? Don't be. English is widely spoken throughout the Netherlands – in fact, you might struggle to speak Dutch once people know where you're from.
"Not knowing the local language is not an issue at all – people switch to English when they hear your accent," explains Maria. But for those wanting to learn a language or two, NSM's language centre is on hand with evening courses, day workshops...you name it, they can help you speak it.
Ultimately, there's a lot to be said for going Dutch. The Netherlands is easily reached from the UK, has a world-class educational system, an easy-going culture that many students come to love – and the experience of studying abroad makes for graduates with an international mindset.
Maria believes NSM graduates have a lot to look forward to. "You'll gain a competitive advantage on the labour market and an extensive social network with your fellow international students," she says. "As well as having enormous fun!"
Want to find out more?
Bachelor degrees at Nijmegen School of Management
Master's degrees at Nijmegen School of Management