Do you enjoy biking around seaside villages? Would you like to try ice-skating on the frozen canals of Amsterdam? The Netherlands has all this and more.

Dutch teenagers like get together with friends in hobby clubs or sports clubs (soccer, tennis, volleyball or field hockey). During the winter, skating is popular; in summer, people go sailing, hiking and swimming. Dutch teenagers often have a side job and work on the weekends.

Learned to sail from my host mom on Mother's Day 💕⛵️☀️#exchangeyear #afseffect

A photo posted by Laura Friedrich (@lauraelizabeth67) on May 8, 2016 at 4:43am PDT

People & Community

You can be placed anywhere throughout the Netherlands, probably in a small town—however bigger towns and cities are always just a quick ride away. Public transportation system is well developed, and bikes are commonly used to get around. Some regions are very rural, particularly in the north. You will really get to know the Dutch sense of family as everyone shares their adventures of the day during meals. Expect to participate in household chores and keep your belongings tidy. 


Your previous grades and interests will help determine what type of secondary school you will attend. Classes run from 8 am to 4 pm. Dutch schools focus on independent study and research, in smaller working groups or individually, to teach problem solving and teamwork. 


Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands, and AFS Netherlands will provide a Rosetta Stone language course to help you learn the language as much as possible before starting the exchange. Students placed in Friesland, a province in the north of the country, might even learn Frisian— the official regional language only spoken in that province. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful.

Eindelijk.💐 #intercultura #exchangestudent #afseffect #afsnederland #vakantie #happiness #tulips #AFSItaly #ciaoItalia

A photo posted by Federica Profeti (@thewanderlustdamsel) on May 3, 2016 at 12:30pm PDT

Are we Dutch yet? #Nederland #stroopwaffle

A photo posted by Laura Friedrich (@lauraelizabeth67) on Feb 5, 2016 at 1:12pm PST


Dutch food is simple and nourishing and represents a mixture of European cooking styles. During weekdays, family members take breakfast individually based on their schedules, but often on Sundays, the family will eat a special breakfast together. Dinner is the most important time for families to gather. A typical meal consists of potatoes and gravy with vegetables in season and meat or fish. The soups and vegetables are excellent. If you have a sweet tooth, try the raisin rolls, chocolate spread, puddings, syrup-filled wafers, and especially Dutch licorice!

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program