Going Back to School as an Expat

 

I didn't finish University in the States. I won't bore you with the details, just know that I escaped with less than 3,000 dollars in debt, and found a job that allowed me to make enough money to save for my move here in 6 months. I always intended to go back one day, but I couldn't justify spending the money until I was sure of what I wanted. I have never regretted my decision.

Until I moved to The Netherlands. Because going on to higher education is so inexpensive here, tuition is generally less than 2,000 Euros a year, and the government gives away tons of grants. Almost everyone goes. I soon found out that even though I had experience in a rapidly growing field, because I didn´t have a degree I couldn´t so much as land an interview. This gave me a lot of time for self reflection. I realized, I moved across the ocean, why I am trying to get a job in the field I was just using as a place holder, and actually really hated. So, I began looking into colleges here to pursue my ultimate dream job, I want to have my own tour company. 

The Higher Education System here in The Netherlands is different than that at home. For example, there are different levels. There is the MBO level, which I confess I don´t know much about, but it is the lowest level. Then there are the Hogeschools or HBO programs, these can´t really be compared to something in The States, they are very hands on learning. Think anything from Journalism, Marketing, and Midwifery. Universities here are more for things that are very research intensive. Think Science, Literature, Medicine, thinks of that nature. Confused yet? 

Since I want to study Tourism, that is a HBO program. I then had to look for Hogeschools with International Programs that offered International Tourism Management.International, so I can go to school in English. I found three. Two are over a two hour one way trip from Utrecht, and one is in Amsterdam. Due to the fact that Loek´s job and our life are in Utrecht, and that Amsterdam is where the tourists are, I choose the one in Amsterdam. Now, I just had to figure out how to apply and pay for it. 

Luckily, because I am under 30 and on the Visa I am on I will receive some aid. To apply for the program, I had to go on Studielinks and fill out the application. I then had to send in a certified copy of my high school transcripts and diploma. Which means I had to fax in a request to my old school district and have my parents go pick them up and send them to me. I then heard from my school, there was a questionnaire that was required. It was confusing for a few months, because I was being sent all this paper like I was accepted into the school, without an official acceptance letter. 

Yesterday, I had to go in and do an interview and entrance exam. It turns out these things are not a part of the are you in the program or not, but are more of a diagnostic exercise for when we will later be replaced for group projects. One thing that I do like better about the HBO program in comparison to my experience in The States is that every class I take has to do with tourism in some capacity. No core classes for this girl! 

It turns out, I am in to the program! For the next four years, I will be a full/time student. I couldn´t be happier! Look forward to a bunch of posts about this. 

Anyone have any advice on going back to school, or better study habits? They are more than welcome!

Comments

Congratulations on getting into the program!

Thank you! I was really nervous, although in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been. 

congratulation!!! you're lucky came in here when you're under 30
I came when i just past 30 yo.... no study subsidie for me...;(

Thank you, I feel really lucky! 

Congrats :) My somewhat biased advance is to visit the library often and ask for research help. We really can help in most situations-- or at least we can sympathize with your plight and crazy professors ;)
Of course, I am not in the NL yet.

Haha, that is good advice!