Quest Exchange in Netherlands

Visionary architecture, vintage-meets-contemporary fashion, street markets selling rainbows of fresh flowers, caramel-filled stroopwafels and canal-side cafés are all reasons why travelers love the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a country that values socializing and conversation. Cafes are a place for contemplation and camaraderie.

The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces. The word Dutch is used to refer to the people, the language, and anything pertaining to the Netherlands. The national language in the Netherlands is Dutch; it’s a charming, lilting language punctuated by phlegm-trembling glottal gs. Officially, the Netherlands is bilingual, as Frisian is also an official language. 90% of the Dutch also speak English, and many speak other languages like German and French as well.

Come discover the beauty of Dutch hospitality and history as you explore a new cultural landscape defined by its friendly liveliness!

3 Fun Facts
  • More than a quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level.
  • Dutch people are the tallest in the world.
  • About 30% of all Dutch babies are born at home.
Program Dates


Mid Aug – Early Jul


Mid Aug – Late Dec

School Life

The school year in the Netherlands runs from the middle of August to early July. The Fall semester runs from the middle of August to late December, while the Spring semester runs from the middle of January to early July. The school week is Monday through Friday and typically consists of 30 to 35 lessons of 50 minutes each. The length of each school day may vary, depending on the schedule. Breakfast is usually light and quick with bread, cheese, cold meat and jam at home. Some families will have larger breakfasts or brunch on the weekends. School starts around 8:30am and goes until to 3pm with a mid-morning break at 10:30 for snack and lunch at 12:30. Students bring their own lunch to school; sandwiches are a common food for students.

Dutch students and teachers have an informal but respectful relationship. A focus on individual learner’s needs pushes the curriculum away from state standards and more in a personal direction. Teachers do expect the students to make an effort to learn Dutch and will not translate course material into English. Exchange students are expected to fully participate in classes and may seek language tutors for help with the lessons in Dutch. School is taken very seriously and students should be prepared to invest time in their school work. Language immersion is an important part of the study abroad experience. Dutch is the only language spoken.

Sports and other extracurricular activities are often offered by clubs and organizations outside of school. These are good places for international students to make friends and expand their social circle outside of the school setting.

Family Life

Families in the Netherlands are typically small, with an average of two children per household. Many women work (mainly part-time), especially once the children have reached school age. This means that Dutch youngsters learn to be independent at a young age. Host family placements are usually in towns and villages surrounded by industry, agriculture, and nature. Most families live in houses that are connected to each other and they usually have a small garden. In the bigger towns and cities many people live in apartment complexes.

The Dutch eat a variety of foods (Chinese, Italian, Mexican, French etc). Cooked potatoes are almost always served at dinner, next to vegetables and meats. Salads are also very popular. Meals are an important time for families. Dinner gathers the whole family, and it is a time to share the feelings and events of the day; thus, presence at the table is a must, even if someone is not hungry. The entire family helps out with cooking, setting the table and clearing up.

Students will quickly see that the main mode of transportation is by bike and they should be prepared to buy a bike. It is possible to buy good second-hand bicycles for about $115. The public transportation system is very well developed, which makes it possible for students to visit other nearby places.

Teenagers seldom go out alone; they prefer to gather in small groups before going out. It is not uncommon to meet at someone’s house before going to the school dance, discotheque, café or other events. Curfews depend on the confidence the parents have in their children and host parents do like to be informed about where, when and with whom a student is going out.

Program Extras

Students studying in the Netherlands may attend optional add-on trips. The details of these trips vary by season and year. Contact us for more information. These trips are not included in Quest program fees.


Students must be between 15-18 years old. Students must not turn 19 before March 1st for the Fall semester and year programs, and not before August 1st for the Spring semester program. Students must also still be enrolled in high school; they cannot have graduated.

Students do not need to have taken Dutch language classes, but if they have not, students are expected to do self-study of the language to have at least a basic speaking level upon arrival.

Students are also required to participate in a Dutch language course while in the Netherlands. The cost for this course depends on the number of participants, but is usually about $500.


For stays over 90 days, students will need a residence permit. Students and parents should request more information from Quest as soon as possible about this process, as our Dutch partner will need to initiate the application process before you travel. Students and parents should also research visa requirements on their own through the Dutch consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It usually takes several weeks to months to obtain a Dutch residence permit/visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Dutch partner office can confirm the exact requirements, but our partner can assist in the initial stages of the process. Ultimately, though, it is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa/residence permit requirements and to obtain and submit the necessary application and corresponding documentation.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, student will have access to WiFi at home and school, for the most part. Though, access will be restricted at times.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Dutch carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Students cannot travel outside of the host area without adult supervision. Travel outside of the host area with adult supervision is authorized if pre-approved by the natural parents, host family, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $300/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in the Netherlands?

Dutch families expect students to participate fully in family life by helping out with household chores like other family members, having dinner together and visiting with each other on the weekends. In most families, the father and mother both work, although the mothers often work part-time. Dutch families can be very diverse, though, so students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a residence permit. Students and parents should request more information from Quest as soon as possible about this process, as our Dutch partner will need to initiate the application process before you travel. The cost for the residence permit is approximately $750.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students in the Netherlands generally ride their bikes to school. If the student prefers, however, s/he can take public transportation as well. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Schools do not provide tutoring, but Dutch lessons would be available via Skype. Costs vary for this service.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program? 

Yes, exchange students in the Netherlands will receive a stamped and signed certificate from the principal of their Dutch school, which lists the courses and performance results. Please note, however, that this will only be given if the student has completed all assignments and exams. If more official documents are required, our Dutch partner will help students attain those from the Ministry of Education, which involves travel and extra costs. Obtaining these documents is the student’s responsibility before s/he leaves the Netherlands.

Do schools offer different sports/activities? 

No, Dutch schools do not offer sports and clubs. But, students can become members of a sports or music club outside of school. Costs for such clubs vary, depending on the location and activity.


The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!


Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.


You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.


Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.


The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.


You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.


Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.


This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.


Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.


You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.


This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.


This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.


Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!


Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!


Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester (Fall only)
Application Deadline
  • April 1st
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.