This chapter is about the preparations you need to make for studying in the Netherlands, the most important of which is to contact the disability officer at the university you are going to attend.
Choosing a course
- After you have found the programmes or courses you would like participate in, check if they are allowed to educate international students: www.internationalstudy.nl/institutions. Here you will find a list of all the Dutch universities that have signed the code of conduct. Their credits and certificates are recognised worldwide.
Arranging facilitiesSpecial study arrangements are not a matter of course in the Netherlands. Once you have applied for arrangements, it might take a while before you can make use of them. So arrange the necessary modifications well in advance. For special arrangements or modifications, you will have to make an appointment with your university’s disability officer (you could also do this by telephone or via Skype). S/he knows which modifications are possible and how to arrange them. Some arrangements have to be approved by your faculty’s examination board. The disability officer can help you with the necessary request(s). You will find a list of all Dutch universities’ disability officers on our website. Click here for a list of all universities. Your university and you will find the relevant name, telephone number and e-mail address.It is also a good idea to let your student advisor know about your disability. You will receive a lot of information about your course once you have enrolled. The secretary can help you find out who is to be your student advisor. Or you could wait until the beginning of the year; your student advisor will be introduced to you in the first few days. Contact him/her if you wish to make an appointment.
IntakeMost universities have an official intake procedure for students with disabilities. During your first appointment with the disability officer s/he will register any necessary information about your disabilities, possible modifications and, at the end of the appointment, the agreements you make about the facilities you will be using during your studies.
Preparing for your intakeSee the intake as an appointment between two experts: you are an expert on your possibilities and disabilities; the disability officer is an expert on the facilities available at his/her university. So prepare for your intake if you want to get the facilities that really work for you. How to prepare? First, make a list of the things you find difficult because of your disability. These may include:
- Sustaining your energy levels
- Fear of failure
- Time management
- Team work
- Reading and writing (speed)
Secondly, make a list of study activities that might be difficult for you. These may include:
And lastly, think of possible modifications and things that have helped you in the past. Ask around to see whether family or friends have any other ideas.
- Using computers
- Preparing for/doing exams
- Writing papers
- Attending lectures
- Group assignments
- Lab work/work placements
Possible modificationsAccording to the law on equal treatment, Dutch universities must provide the modifications that make it possible for you to study. There are a few exceptions:
- The university won’t provide personal help and care for students (for instance help with eating, injections, personal hygiene or psychological therapy). This should be covered by your health insurance.
- Modifications that are too expensive; if a modification puts too much pressure on the university’s total budget, the university is entitled to reject the request.
- If the modification affects the level of education and changes the course content.
- If there is doubt as to whether the modification will benefit your progress on the programme.
- If another, cheaper modification could secure your study progress.
Examples of possible modifications include:
- Extra time for assignments or exams
- Fewer courses per semester
- Use of a computer during exams
- Additional guidance
- Courses on, for instance, time management, spelling, English academic writing or overcoming the fear of failure
- Alternative assignments