Greenheart Travel's Dutch Language and Culture Program will give you a chance to live and learn some Dutch in one of the world's friendliest countries!
Get a first-hand look the three principles of the Dutch school system; independence, cooperation and problem-solving on Greenheart Travel’s Dutch Language and Culture Program. As a high school study abroad or gap year student, you’ll ride a bike to your local Dutch high school, make life-long Dutch friends and learn about European art and history with the museum pass that gives you access to any museum in the country!
Greenheart Travel’s program is ideal if you:
Sound like you? We thought so. Here’s the program at a glance:
What do past participants say about studying abroad in the Netherlands?
“You and your team abroad truly did a wonderful job! Thank you! We greatly appreciated all the prompt and timely communications. We would recommend Greenheart Travel to others interested in pursuing student exchange travel abroad.” – Dave and Tammy Dunn, parents of exchange student in the Netherlands, Izzy Dunn.
Packaged into the Price:
Our Support and Services:
Additional Expenses You’ll Need to Cover (Estimates):
Worried about the program fee?
Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is finanically do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.
We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
Want to wait to study abroad until after you graduate? We can also accept high school graduates on a case-by-case basis who are no older than 18 years and 6 months upon arrival into the country.
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of High School Abroad candidates.
Dates subject to change.
Applications are now closed, please apply for a 2020 program date.
Apply Early and Save! $300 off Trimester and $500 off Semester/Year Early Application Discount for Spring 2020 Programs: Apply by May 30, 2019.
Final Deadline to Apply: September 15, 2019
Apply Early and Save! $300 off Trimester and $500 off Semester/Year Early Application Discount for Fall 2020 Programs: Apply by December 6, 2019.
Final Deadline to Apply: March 15, 2020
The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it which is why all Greenheart Travel high school abroad students live with local Dutch host families. All of our host families are volunteers and will treat you as a member of their family. By being a part of your family’s daily life, you will learn to live and speak like a local!
Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In fact, many of our current host families have hosted students in the past, showing what an impactful experience it was.
In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
We will connect you with your host family prior to your arrival in your host country. By e-mailing and speaking with them before arriving, it will help break the ice when you finally meet in person. It will also show that you are as excited to live with them as they are to host you!
Host families have many reasons why they want to welcome you! Our host families are volunteers, meaning they don’t receive compensation for housing and feeding students during their program. Many host families love the experience of cultural exchange – they learn just as much about your country as you do theirs. Many are also former exchange students and want to return the favor, or they have children who have gone or will go to study in the U.S. Having an exchange student exposes their children to new languages and cultures.
All participants will get to participate in a 6-day orientation upon arrival, in Soest, which is 45 minutes from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and 30 minutes from the city center of Amsterdam.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet many other new like-minded and adventurous students who have also just arrived! By the end, you’ll have new friends scattered around the entire country. Orientation includes important activities and classes on what to expect on your program, language, and local culture. The accommodation is a short walk from the regionally famous sand dunes and has great facilities in a forested area.
Subject to change.
Monday – Welcome!
On Monday the students will arrive around noon at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the High School Holland team will greet the students and bring them by bus to the accommodation in Soest. In the evening we have dinner together and will give a presentation about the program and the rules of the orientation week. We will also do some games so we can all get to know each other better.
Tuesday – Tour of Amsterdam
After breakfast, we will depart to the city of Amsterdam. The program of the day in Amsterdam will be communicated later, but we can already say that it will be an instructive and fun day! In the evening we have dinner again at our accommodation in Soest. After dinner, the students have some free time.
Wednesday – Learn Dutch
This day is full of Dutch classes, in the morning, afternoon and evening! But don’t worry there are enough breaks in between for coffee and tea and also for lunch. After the afternoon class, we will have dinner followed by one more session of language training with lots of fun games to practice the students’ Dutch skills.
Thursday – Visa Processing
After breakfast, the students will start with Dutch classes again. In the late afternoon, they will have free time to do whatever they want to do. The students that need a visa will also visit the Immigration and Naturalization Authorities. In the evening after dinner, there is time to relax and the option to watch a movie.
Friday – Learn To Ride Your Bike!
After breakfast students will get a small lesson on how Dutch traffic works for biking around your new city. Every student receives a free bike on this program to use during their entire exchange program. After this lesson, we will ride our bikes and visit the city of Amersfoort. After lunch, the students will attend a workshop that prepares them for a successful program. In the evening we will plan a fun activity for all students to close the week in a spectacular way!
Saturday – Meet Your Host Families!
Saturday is a very exciting day: you will meet your host family! Host families will come to pick you up at the orientation location. This is such a great part of the week as now the adventure really starts and all of the students will go to their new Dutch home with their new Dutch family!
Each student will have activities and excursions that they can choose to partake or be a part of. Your local coordinator will organize one event per semester, so that is two events if you stay for the academic year. The national office and staff will also organize one event per semester for all exchange students (for example, a trip to Gouda), so that is another two events for the academic year. And on top of that, there is also Family Day for host families and students to come together for a fun day.
Therefore, there are 5 student events organized per academic year, and all expenses are paid for the student (including transportation costs).
Please note these are subject to change and vary semester to semester.
Example Activities and Excursions:
You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines of your host country with your guidance counselor and/or teachers. Please consult with them about the credits they will potentially grant you for the classes you take while abroad.
Because the curriculum will vary by country, it is important that you arrange required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad. There are no guarantees that you can take certain classes at your host school.
Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in your host country; however, in most cases, you will not be able to sign up for specific courses until AFTER you have arrived in your host country.
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US and most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
However, our team of local coordinators in the Netherlands works hard provide proof of attendance and record of courses and evaluations of your performance. Many U.S. high schools of past students have accepted this for credit.
Are you a High School Educator or Guidance Counselor looking for more information? Head here to learn more about your role in helping students study abroad.
No, you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We make it a priority to place students with host families that closely match your interests and personality, for example, if you like field hockey, we’ll do our best to find a family that also loves field hockey! For this reason, we work first to find a suitable family rather than a destination preference. We can always take requests and make them a priority, but we can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family.
We’ve placed students all over the Netherlands! Some of our most common placements are in the following towns: Meldersl, Terbor, Harderwijk, Venray and Melick.
It is very unlikely you will be placed in a city like Amsterdam or Rotterdam. The majority of our families live in small to medium-sized towns outside of major cities, and it is important you be open-minded to small-town life. The Netherlands is a small country, so it’s likely you’ll get the chance to visit big cities very often.
This is possible as long as we have a support network in the family’s host community and there is an available nearby host school.
There is no guarantee that you will have a host sibling your age. Your host family may have young children, teenage children, or grown children who no longer live at home. Regardless of the age of your host siblings, they’ll be excited to welcome into the family!
No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. However, if issues arise once you are on the program, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and may make changes if necessary.
This will depend on your host family. You might share a room with another exchange student or host sibling of the same gender but in most cases, you will have your own room.
Your host family will provide sheets, pillows, towels etc. You are responsible for providing toiletries. Upon arrival your host family might also help you visit a store to pick up any missing items.
You will receive your visa once in country. You must complete immigration and visa paperwork during the application process, and when you arrive in the Netherlands the in-country staff will help you.
While there are no required vaccinations for the Netherlands, we recommend that you see a doctor or travel clinic for advice on vaccinations. You can also refer to the CDC’s guidelines for traveling to the Netherlands:https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/netherlands
If you get sick, your host family or local coordinator will help you get medical care.
If you have an emergency on program, we have a 24/7 emergency number you can call. Our in-country partner staff and your host family will be there to assist you. Greenheart will be in touch with your parents regarding your emergency.
You will be covered by medical and accident insurance for the duration of your program. You will receive all of the insurance information and an insurance card when you arrive in the Netherlands. This will cover you for most medical expenses you might incur, like prescriptions, ER visits, doctor visits, dental accidents, and hospitalizations.
The first and last day of school will depend on the school you are placed in! Most students start school in late August and end in early July.
Your host family will provide three meals a day. The Dutch tend to eat a lot of bread, so sandwiches for breakfast and for lunch. The Dutch tend to eat healthy food. For dinner often potatoes, rice or pasta. Lots of vegetables and meat or fish. Nowadays lots of vegetarian food as well. And of course dessert!
Students will eat lunch at their high school. They will bring a packed lunch from their host family.
Students who study for a semester or year are eligible for “convalidation,” meaning you can bring a document to your school in the U.S. to demonstrate the courses you took. Only students who performed well academically will be eligible, and the Dutch school decides if the student will receive convalidation or not. Our in-country partners will help students with the process, but it is their responsibility to obtain the convalidation.
No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to become fluent in Dutch while living overseas. The host family and school will not expect you to be fluent when they first arrive and will help you improve your language skills. As long as you try your best, you’ll pick up the language sooner than you might think! Luckily in the Netherlands, we provide an online course before arrival, do workshops during the orientation week, and provide a 12-week Dutch course during your program also. Students who do trimester and 1-2-month programs will be placed in bilingual schools to ease the learning process.
Dutch students are required to study English at school, so many students speak English. However, remember that you are there to learn Dutch! Many students will ask to speak English with you, but remind them that you want to practice your new language skills.
For semester and academic year students, all classes will be in Dutch. For trimester and two-month programs, you will be enrolled in a bilingual English and Dutch high school. We provide you with an online Dutch course prior to arrival, and a 12-week Dutch course during your program to ease the language barrier.
During the application, you will be asked to choose a specific track (culture and society, economy and society, nature and health, and nature and technique).
The mandatory subjects in every track are: Dutch, English, gym, social studies, and cultural arts. Students will have the opportunity to choose two electives, such as geography, other foreign languages, philosophy, arts (music, dance, drama, visual arts), physics, math, etc.
Most Dutch schools do not have school uniforms. You should dress smart casual to school.
We recommend you apply a minimum of 6 months prior to your desired semester.
The sooner you can apply the better, as acceptance, gathering documents, etc. can take a long time. Read more about why applying early is a good idea.
Our final deadlines for fall start dates are March 15, and September 15 for spring departures.
Greenheart Travel is proud to offer the Greenheart Club for all of our students. The Greenheart Club challenges our participants to pursue a deeper level of immersion through volunteerism. As a member of the Greenheart Club, you will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to your community, have access to tools for tracking your impact and receive incentives for their efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for you to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while you study abroad.
You can keep your American phone number, but all students in the Netherlands must also have a local phone number to communicate with the local coordinator, staff, and your host family. We give you tips and advice for communication while abroad during your program.
All host families (and most every person) in the Netherlands have internet in their homes. There is also 4G internet widely available throughout the country.
If you have a laptop we recommend bringing it, as it will be helpful for school and for communicating with home.
Yes! Our local staff will pick you up from the airport and transport you to the on-site arrival orientation site. They can’t wait to meet you!
Flights are included in the cost of the program. If you wish to book your own flight, Greenheart Travel will deduct this from your fee.
Yes, every student on this program gets their very own orange bike to use!
Your host family will pick you up on the last day of your on-site arrival orientation.
Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host school. Don’t worry though; making friends in your new host country will happen quickly!
No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, they should plan to meet you after your program is completed. In this instance, Greenheart Travel’s National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.
You will not be able to take the SAT’s while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SAT’s prior to or after the program.
On a case by case basis, we can accept graduated students in the Netherlands. However, note you must be 18 for at least 6 months of the program and will not be placed in the final year of high school.
We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.
Greenheart Travel has been working with high schoolers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:
We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!
Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.
Greenheart Alumni Program
We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!
Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference
Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.
Committing to studying abroad can feel daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible! Below are the various steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a high school abroad program.
1. Start Your Application Here: Greenheart Travel Application. Once the initial form is complete, you will be connected to a High School Abroad program manager who will speak with you and a parent to go over the details of the program.
2. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you and one parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
3. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): Next, you will submit your $1,000 non-refundable deposit which reserves your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.
4. Skype Interview (Approximately 30-45 Minutes): After submitting your deposit, you will schedule an interview with Allison. During this interview, Allison will ask you questions about living with a host family, adjusting to new situations and homesickness, among other things. She will also explain the overview of the next few months and what you can expect. This is done via Skype, and at least one parent should also be in attendance. If you do not have Skype, please download it before the interview.
5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This part of the application process will help us get to know you and assess the best match for your host family abroad. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to study abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You can do this prior to the Skype interview should you wish.
5. Second Parent to Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 5 minutes): Your other parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
6. Submitting Your Documents: You will also be required to submit documents (outlined below). You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks about your acceptance. Then, you’ll get more information about preparation, visas, and placement.
In addition to completing an application, you will also be required to submit documents. You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
The following documents will be required for all destinations:
Tips for the video: This video doesn’t have to be long, but it should be enough to get a good impression of you! It should include things like your full name, age, home life, home school life, hobbies and interests, and why you want to come to the Netherlands and what you’re hoping to learn.
For payments, a $1,000 non-refundable deposit will be due with your submitted application. This is a deposit, not an application fee, and will be deducted from your overall program cost. If your application is submitted after the deadline, the deposit will be $2,000.
Once you are accepted onto the program, a $5,000 commitment deposit will be due within 7 days of acceptance. Remaining balance is due on June 1st for fall departures and November 1st for spring departures.
You’ve Been Accepted, Now What?
Start getting ready for your adventure! Your program manager will be in regular communication with you to make sure that you are on track in your preparations to go abroad.
Have questions or want to talk to one of the program coordinators? Set up a time to have a phone call below.
Take a glimpse into life in The Netherlands through some student’s photos. Make sure to also check out #greenhearttravel on Instagram for more!