Most people are familiar with the tulip plantations, the windmills, the expertly built canal system (great for skating in winter time) and lively cities like Amsterdam, Haag and Rotterdam. We are of course talking about the Netherlands – a small but interesting country, with more to offer than just these traditional symbols.
High School Classic
High School Classic is the traditional high school exchange programme, chosen by most of our students. It is the perfect programme for those who long for a genuine high school experience abroad and who are willing to embrace all the surprises it can bring. Here’s how it works: based on your profile, we find you a suitable host family and school, and the best part is, it can be anywhere in the Netherlands, from the striking countryside to the cultural centres of the country’s fascinating cities! If you’re open to adventure and are willing to let yourself be surprised by your exchange experience, this is the programme for you.
High School 2-in-1
Experience two new countries in one year! The new High School 2-in-1 programme gives you the unique opportunity to spend each semester of your high school exchange in a different country. You can learn an extra language, gain insight into yet another culture and make even more international friends.
Order our brochure now and read all about STS High School, our destinations and a very special period abroad that could be the adventure of your life!
Right now you will get the Christmas edition of our inspiring brochure, complete with printable STS Christmas cards!
The Netherlands is one of Europe's smallest countries, though densely populated. The country is known and appreciated for its liberalism and tolerance, especially towards strangers. Your new classmates and people in your new town will be happy to show you around.
The best way to get around is to get a bike. Yes, it’s true, the main transportation mode in the country is actually the bike. You will soon learn that almost all your friends ride a bike to get to school, friends and sports clubs.
A little piece of history
Between 1800 and 1949, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. A small piece of this part of history remains in the form of Indonesian restaurants. Amsterdam is especially famed for its Indonesian and Surinamese food. Don’t miss the chance to eat a generous rijsttafel (meaning rice table) a smorgasbord with many tasty and spicy dishes.
Area: 16 000 km2 Population: 16.5 million Governance: Constitutional monarchy Capital: Amsterdam Language: Dutch National holiday: April 27 (King’s Day)
High school the Dutch way
In the Netherlands, the contact between teachers and students is informal and open. Teachers encourage students to ask questions in class and like it when the students seek out the facts and draw their own conclusions.
The Dutch school system
Dutch students choose between two directions when they start high school. They are called VWO and HAVO and differ in length and study areas. Most exchange students will be placed in the school form called HAVO. High school starts in late August and consists of three terms. The first extends from August to Christmas. The second runs from January to Easter and the third from April to July. Between terms, there are study breaks.
Mainly mandatory subjects
Schools in the Netherlands have certain compulsory subjects. You will study Dutch, English, a third language (French or German), mathematics, economics, physics, history, biology, chemistry and geography. You will also have physical education and art class.
Your Dutch host family
Dutch families are often fairly small, meaning they will have one or a maximum of two children. It’s common for both parents to be working, especially when the children have reached school age. Since you, your host siblings and your host parents will be away from home during the day, dinner time is not only time for eating. It’s also a family activity and a way to socialise.
At your new house
The Netherlands is a small country when it comes to area, that’s why they have a lot of tall buildings. Don’t be surprised if your new home will have more than one floor. A typical four-room apartment can have just as many floors.
In a Dutch home, everybody helps out with the chores, including you, of course. Just like home, you will make sure to keep your room clean and tidy. Your family will love it if you once in a while offer to help out with dinner and cook something from your own country.
Freedom and responsibility
There is an open and free atmosphere between children and adults in the families. You'll find that you are permitted a lot of freedom, but also a great sense of responsibility. Spending a year in a Dutch family will make you grow as a person.
Who can go: 15–17,5 years on arrival
Departure month: August/December
Language requirements: Good English, basic knowledge in Dutch
Choice of destination: No
Prep course: STS Welcome Camp included
School year: August–June/July
School day: Usually 08.00 – 15.30
Subjects: Compulsory and optional
Trips in the country: Day trips and outings. Additional cost
Spare time during your year
What do you want to do after school? That’s entirely up to you. Join your new friends when they go out together, maybe visiting a café or watching a movie. In winter time, the canals are great for skating.
History and culture
The Netherlands has an interesting history and has for many centuries been a powerful seafaring nation and a colonial power. If you are interested in history, you will be fascinated by how much influence this small country has had in the history books.
If you are into culture and art, you probably already know that there are many famous painters and artists of Dutch origin. Among the most famous are Rembrandt and van Gogh. Two completely different artists with two completely different styles in two different centuries. Learn more about these artists when you live in their home country!
We usually invite all our exchange students in the Netherlands to follow us on two weekend getaways, one in spring and one in fall. This is a great opportunity to meet other students and share your experiences of your high school exchange – and to have a whole lot of fun, of course! We often stay in a hostel and during the days we go sightseeing and explore a new city. Given that England is so close, it’s highly possible that one of the trips will be to London. Your local contact person will give you all the details, such as travel dates, destination and costs connected to the trip.
STS Welcome Camp in Paris
Your exchange begins with our fun Welcome Camp in Paris! The Welcome Camp gives you the best possible start to your exchange, and is packed with sightseeing, seminars, new friends and lots of fun.
Air fares to host family and back
Accommodation in an approved host family
Full board in a host family
School spot in a public high school
Personal assistance and contact person from home country and host country
STS Welcome Camp
Pre-departure orientation in your home country
Emergency support 24/7
Meetings and material to prepare you and your parents
STS bag and t-shirt
STS Ambassador Club
High School Classic
Don’t forget to check out our Video Scholarship Challenge. Send us a video explaining why you would be a great exchange student and get the chance to receive a scholarship for your high school exchange. Find all information and instructions here
Yes, no matter where you go, we have a local representative at your location. It is the local area representative who works to approve our host families, have contact with schools and will be your supporter and advisor during your exchange year.
The easiest way to apply is to visit the page of your favourite destination and click the "Apply now" button. Your application is not binding, and you make your final decision once you have been accepted.