How To Make Friends In The Netherlands As An International.

How to make friends as an international student in the netherlands

When moving to a new country, or in this case the Netherlands. It can always be difficult to let go of our pasts and start new futures. Even though those we left behind aren’t forgotten, making new friends and putting ourselves out there is imperative for our well-being abroad. Are you finding it hard to make friends in the Netherlands? Are Dutch people a bit too direct for your liking? This blog will take a closer look into how to make friends in the Netherlands

Student associations and clubs.

Have you just started at a new university course in the Netherlands and are looking for ways to connect with fellow classmates? As an international student it can always be hard to find our place amongst the Dutch students. Many already have friends who live in their cities and others connect through similar interests that bring them together. However, internationals might not listen to the same music or watch the same tv shows as the Dutch students. Nevertheless there are always ways in which you can connect with your fellow Dutch classmates. Universities in the Netherlands have an array of different associations and clubs you can join free of charge. Here is a list of a couple of associations that are internationally friendly:

  • ESN (Erasmus Student Network)

In addition, Dutch universities have the option of joining different clubs or even coming up with your own club. Clubs are a great way to make friends in the Netherlands as you can easily find students who have the same interests and enjoy the same activities as you. Some examples of clubs that you could start or join are as follows:

  • Cooking club 
  • Yoga club 
  • Football club
  • Drawing club 
  • Band jam club 

Events and volunteering.

The Dutch are known for their love of filling up their agendas. If you are looking to meetup with a Dutch friend, make sure to plan something in advance. If you are stuck on what type of activity you could do with your new friends. Events and volunteer work are always something to think of. The Dutch love their events, especially those that are part of their culture. It is an opportunity to get together, celebrate and share the pride for their country with internationals. Dress up in a silly outfit or volunteer at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), you will have more than enough opportunities to talk to and meet new people. An example of Dutch events that will allow you to make new friends and experience the Dutch culture are:

  • Carnival (Mid February)
  • Kings day (27th April)
  • Amsterdam pride (Beginning of August)

Following up on volunteering and the positive effect it can have when making friends. Throughout the Netherlands you can find many different platforms that advertise different volunteer opportunities throughout the Netherlands and the rest of the world. Whether you are looking to do some volunteer work on the weekends, at big festivals or even outside of Europe. It is a great way to connect with new friends and share similar interests and experiences together. Here are a couple of organisations that work with internationals and nationals when it comes to volunteering: 

  • Revolution Foundation (https://revolutionfoundation.nl/nl/)
  • Volunteering.nl (https://volunteering.nl/)

Learning the language and taking Dutch lessons.

The Dutch are known for their tall people, however, did you know that the Dutch are actually ranked as one of the best non-native english speaking countries. Around 90% of the population has knowledge of the English language. This comes from playing video games or watching tv shows that were not available in Dutch. Despite this, as an international it can be difficult to join friend groups that consist of Dutch nationals. This is due to the fact that they will always feel more comfortable speaking their own language amongst themselves. Learning Dutch can be quite complicated for some, the writing and the strong accents that come with it are not always easy to grasp on to. However, if you are willing and have the motivation to learn, the Netherlands is the perfect place. Below are some examples of different ways in which you could start learning the language now: 

  • Duolingo (Free online courses)
  • Dutch classes at Universities 
  • Finding a language buddy 

All of these different ways are easily accessible and free to use. The point is not to be spending money on classes but finding fun and innovative ways to learn the language. Remember, practice makes perfect. Start using the phrases you have learnt regularly and slowly but surely you will become a natural. 

Take a walk outside, visit the areas where young people hang out.

Just like all over the world, the Netherlands is no stranger to hangout spots for young people. Amsterdam, for example, is filled with youngsters and supplies many different locations and events where young people can blow off some steam and make friends. Don’t worry if you are not living in a big city like Amsterdam, every city or town in the Netherlands has places where young people can connect and meet new people. No matter what your interests are or how much money you have in the bank. There are many different options to choose from, here are a few that are popular in the Netherlands:

  • Skatepark
  • School
  • The park/ Football pitch 
  • Shopping center/street
  • Gaming sites 

Overall, in the Netherlands there are many different locations at which you can make new friends and come across young people. When walking into new environments always remember to be open minded and available to others. The more open you are, the more open others will be with you. Just be yourself and making friends will come easier than expected. 

Part-time and student jobs.

Not only is getting a part time job good for the pockets but it is also a great way to make new friends in the Netherlands. If you are an international and are currently looking for a part-time job in the Netherlands you are in the right place. After reading this blog take a look at our vacancies page. On this page you can find different jobs that are internationally friendly all over the Netherlands: https://www.goingabroad.nl/work/. Jobs are a great way to talk and meet new friends. They allow you to create a new routine and help with self confidence all around. Find something you enjoy and share that enjoyment with your colleagues. Some internationally friendly companies in the Netherlands are as follows:

  • All companies on our website.
  • Thuisbezorgd
  • Mcdonalds 
  • Uber

In conclusion, making new friends in the Netherlands isn’t impossible. It is all about confidence and the way in which you attack the situation. Remember, the Dutch can be very direct and tell you things how they see them. Take this as an opportunity to know where you stand and if you don’t feel comfortable try a different approach. Let this journey begin, get out there and see that making friends in the Netherlands can be easy. 

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