Information for new students

Prepare for success

If you’re a new student joining the International Study Centre, you may have some questions about what it’s like to study in Holland or about your chosen programme. To help you feel prepared, we’ve designed a free virtual preparation course to give you a head start before starting your programme in September. You’ll receive access to over 100 hours of online study to help you feel confident using new study structures and academic skills and learning in a new language, whilst developing your learning outcomes in preparation for starting your programme with us in September, giving you a competitive edge as an international student.

To benefit from our virtual preparation course, you’ll need to confirm your place with us by paying your confirmation deposit as well as your International Foundation Year tuition fees.* You'll then receive an email with instructions on how to access the course. Once you begin, you can start preparing for success by developing your study skills, language abilities and cultural knowledge, as well as the following:

  • Boost your confidence to become a successfully independent learner
  • Access to high-quality academic and English language materials
  • Personalised feedback from your tutors right at the start of your education journey
  • An friendly international community with social meet-ups to get to know your classmates
  • A supportive environment to practice your English

*For Erasmus University Rotterdam – pay €10,000 towards the International Foundation Year tuition fees

Starting in September?

Join us online

Access up to 100 hours of online teaching with us before you start your programme with our virtual preparation course. Confirm your place with us today to begin.

Your arrival checklist

  1. Confirm your offer
    After you have received an offer of a place to study at Holland International Study Centre, you must pay your deposit to confirm your place. Check fees and confirmation payment details.

  2. Arrange your visa
    We’ll send you more information on the visa process after you confirm your place. Your chosen progression university will apply for your visa on your behalf, and this will be valid for the full duration of your studies in Holland.

  3. Book your accommodation
    We’ll send you a link so you can book your room at The Student Hotel. Find out more about accommodation options.

  4. Book your travel to Holland
    Make sure you arrive the weekend before term starts. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the nearest international airport and is just 15 minutes away from the International Study Centre by train.

  5. Complete your pre-arrival form
    Let us know when you’ll be arriving and if you need us to arrange a taxi from the airport for you by sending us your completed arrival form.

  6. Organise insurance
    It is essential you arrange insurance for your time studying in Holland.

Make friends before you arrive

Join our Facebook group to connect with your classmates or ask us any questions before you arrive in Holland.

Become a Student Ambassador

We are looking for Student Ambassadors to represent their International Study Centre. This is a sociable and engaging role involving a range of activities from social media takeovers to writing blogs. If you would like more information about being a Student Ambassador or would like to apply for this role, please email us on We look forward to hearing from you.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend you pack the following items in your hand luggage:

  • passport and visa letter
  • conditional offer letter from your university
  • International Study Centre offer letter
  • notarised and original copies of diplomas / high school grades 
  • IELTS certificate or other original Secure English Language Test result
  • accommodation documents
  • four passport-sized photographs
  • any insurance documents
  • medical certificates including vaccination records
  • essential toiletries and medications
  • a small amount of cash in Euros.

Amsterdam has a variety of shops so you can buy anything else you need when you get here, such as clothes, study supplies and laptop. 

We know that moving to a different country to study is exciting, but quite often students also feel a little bit nervous as they prepare to leave their home. This is perfectly normal and we are all here to help you settle in. Holland is a small country where it’s easy to get around by foot, bicycle, train or car. Find out more about life in Holland.

It won’t take you long before you are accustomed to living here, and we will organise events to help you get to know your course mates and build friendships. The Student Committee at the International Study Centre often organises social events and trips for everyone throughout the year, from visits to local museums and movie nights to day trips to other nearby cities.

Holland is a multicultural country and you will find local shops will sell most things you will need. If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally then some of the larger supermarkets stock a wider range of international products. There are also restaurants serving cuisine from around the world.

Most people speak English very well – around 95% in fact – so you don’t need to learn Dutch to study here.

It’s a well-known fact that Holland has more bicycles than residents. Its flat landscape and specially-designed road systems make it the easiest way to travel around. Plus if you’re a resident at The Student Hotel, you’ll have free use of a bicycle while you live there. 

If you have any more questions, contact us and we'll be happy to help. 

Your first week

It’s exciting to be moving to a new country to study, and we’ll do everything we can to help you settle in and make friends. Your first week includes a range of social activities and practical advice, including:

  • selfie tour around Amsterdam so you can get to know the city
  • bowling trip or cinema trip
  • registering with Amsterdam city hall
  • how to open a bank account.

What to expect

Ashleigh Hough works in Student Services and shares what you can expect when you join us at Holland International Study Centre:

Tips for new students

Student life doesn't have to be expensive. It helps to plan a monthly budget with your regular costs such as accommodation and fees. You can also save money by signing up for a student ID card to get discounts in shops, cinemas and local organisations. The I amsterdam City Card gives you access to savings on attractions and transport around the city. 

Get involved with our student committee at Holland International Study Centre and enjoy regular social events such as picnics, BBQs and themed parties. You can join the planning committee or just come along to the events with your classmates.   

Find out more about student life in Amsterdam, including things to do around the city to help you get to know your new home. If you're staying at The Student Hotel, they also organise regular events for guests throughout the year.

When living in student accommodation you may share a kitchen with other students. Cooking meals together is a great opportunity to get to know your flatmates and share your favourite dishes from your culture. The Student Hotel has shared kitchen facilities and also an on-site restaurant. 

The Dutch are open to communicating in English, so you will have lots of opportunities to practise your English everywhere you go. You might also like to learn a few phrases in Dutch as you get to know the culture.

Mingshan (Sally) from China

The first week everybody was shy and we don’t know each other. This is the first time I knew lots of foreign friends and classmates, and I was nervous to talk with them. With time, you will get yourself using, not your mother language, your English to express what you thought. It’s a big change.

I feel more confident

VU student says Holland has made him more confident


Communal area at The Student Hotel

Most of our students choose to live in The Student Hotel, which offers a choice of locations in the city, fun social events and free use of a bicycle.

Student life

I Amsterdam sign in the city

As a student in Amsterdam you will enjoy the city’s history, art and culture as well as bright, modern facilities at the International Study Centre.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Our latest guidance and updates, including information for current students, frequently asked questions and our move to offering programmes online.