Intern Abroad

Schlagwort: ‘Netherlands’

My experiences in the Netherlands

December 13th, 2022 | by
  • Biomedical Engineering M.Sc.
  • Netherlands, Utrecht
  • UMC Utrecht
  • 01.06.2022 – 16.11.2022



To give myself some headroom to deal with the difficult housing market, I started looking for positions about nine months before the planned starting date. By the time I had found a position it was just four months to the starting date so that also had some implications on the available options in the housing market. A lot of general information pages about going abroad in the Netherlands recommend housing agencies like SSH to find student or some form of affordable housing. However, some of these agencies rely on a long waiting list, where it is more likely to get a housing offer the longer you are on the list. So, if you are running low on time, you can probably skip these options and look for alternatives, which saves you money in the process. This is another peculiarity of the Dutch housing market. While the German housing market is fairly accessible through online portals where you can see most of the available housing for free, the Dutch housing market is essentially locked behind a paywall, where most services require a subscription to contact any of the landlords. I found housing through the university hospital, which was by far the cheapest option compared to the private market. I was also required to make an appointment with the municipality for the registration purpose well in advance. I was able to get an appointment about four weeks away from the date I was looking on.


The Dutch system called OV-chipkaart makes commuting easy. It is essentially a prepaid (or bank account linked) public transport ticket which allows you to take every bus or train by simply checking in at the station or in the bus when you get on and checking out when you leave. It may be a little intimidating at first because you are always second guessing yourself if you have checked out correctly, but you can also register your chipkaart in the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) App where you can check your latest chipcard activities. You can either order a personalized (bank account linked) card online, which takes about two weeks, or get a prepaid one at your local supermarket like Albert Heijn or Jumbo. I took the prepaid option which was still very comfortable because recharging stations are readily available at all train or bus stations and even some other locations like supermarkets. However, commuting by bus may become a noticeable financial burden because every trip you take has a flat base fee plus a per kilometre fee. Especially the base fee becomes very noticeable on short distances common inside the city.

With all of that said though, the obvious choice for commuting in the Netherlands is naturally the bike. Especially in Utrecht the bike infrastructure is exceptional. There are well maintained bike paths and bike storage everywhere which makes commuting by bike a treat. I took my bike from Aachen to Utrecht by train which is easy via the NS intercities.

Every-day life/internship:

Life in the Netherlands isn’t really all that different from life in Germany. Supermarket prices are a bit more expensive in some categories but are generally comparable to the ones you would fine here. This also applies to your average take out service, where a decent portion of fries will set you back about 3 € and a high-quality pizza is about 10 €. Payment services are also a non-issue in the Netherlands if you have a German debit card. There are very few places, if any, where you will encounter the need for cash because everything is paid by card, and I haven’t had any issues with my debit card (no extra fees or anything).

The Dutch working culture is also kind of similar but one thing I have encountered during my stay is that they put less emphasize on the lunch break. The lunch breaks were generally quite short (often just shy of 30 minutes) and primarily focused on food consumption. However, this may be attributed to the group I was working in. My internship was in the neuro engineering department of the Medical Centre Utrecht, which was a very international and highly goal oriented, so I spent a lot of time working.

Utrecht as a city also offers great recreational opportunities in forms of parks and proximity to farms around the campus. I regularly took strolls along the fields after work. If you take a bike, there are also a lot of historical landmarks within reach, including a lot of different forts and castles.


While the housing situation and cost of living may be a little overwhelming in the beginning, the Dutch culture is very approachable and welcoming. The country offers a great experience in terms of travel, be it by bike or by public transport, which was a welcome change from the car centrist life in Germany. The university hospital in Utrecht is very well equipped and offers knowledge in a wide range of topics.

Working in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – Amsterdam

October 17th, 2022 | by
  • Environmental Engineering M.Sc.
  • Netherlands, Amsterdam
  • Metabolic Amsterdam
  • 28.02.2022 – 26.08.2022


Already four months before the planned start of the internship, I start looking for a suitable position. At this point, it is clear to me that I want to gain several months of professional experience in the field of sustainability strategies for public or private institutions. Since my studies are rather technical, a direct connection between the academic content and a practical job seems rather unlikely. Another challenge is that my idea covers a very broad area and often refers to advertised positions with very different descriptions. This makes the search even more difficult.
In my case, the path to a successful application therefore requires ambition and stamina, as I have to work my way through the long list of results after searching for “Sustainability Intern” several
times. A position at a sustainability consulting company that is looking for interns in the area of circular economy with a background in recycling technologies turns out to be promising.
As a platform to search for advertised jobs, I mainly use LinkedIn or Glassdoor. Furthermore, I would recommend going to the website of companiesthat appeal to you, as many do not upload their open positions on all job platforms. Alternatively, a speculative application is also possible at any time, as especially with practices companies are often interested.

The experience of doing an internship in another EU member country shows me once again the many advantages of the European Union. Of course, as an EU citizen, no separate visa is required for employment in Amsterdam. The employer, who is used to receiving applications from abroad, has the necessary experience here and checks this out directly during the application process. A big challenge, especially in the Dutch capital, is finding a suitable and, above all, affordable apartment. I am lucky enough to be able to go on a flat-share search together with a contact person who already works in Amsterdam, which makes this process much easier. As a recommendation, I can give at this point various online portals, which, however, must be updated several times a day in the period before the planned move to have any chance of finding accommodation. Students who decide to work in the Netherlands are required to register for a so-called citizen service
number BSN. This can be done at the local administration and is necessary for tax reasons. Furthermore, one is obliged to take out a Dutch health insurance. However, this only applies if the remuneration of the job is above the legal minimum wage. Since it is possible for students to have a lower salary, it is possible that such insurance is not necessary.

Working Environment
At this point, it should first be mentioned that my experience is not meant to be representative of a typical working environment in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, I have the impression that openness,
calmness, flexibility and flat hierarchies are standard rather than the exception. As an intern at my employer, you are usually assigned to a specific supervisor in a specific team. Since
the areas of responsibility of the individual teams differ significantly in terms of both content and working methods, the activities of the interns also vary accordingly. In general, it can be said that in most cases interns are seen as an addition to the core team and are integrated as such. At the beginning of the internship phase, a plan is drawn up together with the supervisor and with the help of the HR department, with which expectations both sides go into this temporary employment relationship. Particular attention is paid to which goals are pursued and which means are necessary to achieve them. The main aim is to address the individual strengths of the people concerned and to promote them, or to identify weaknesses and counteract them. The work of the team to which I have been assigned specializes in the direct or indirect support of private clients from industry. A large part of the work consists of analyzing products and production processes. The goal is to find leverage points by looking at the entire system in order to make it more sustainable. In most cases, this means using resources more responsibly. For example, it may involve minimizing waste streams, restructuring processes to reduce energy requirements, or revising product design to think about both materials and the product itself in cycles. During the support phase or the cooperation with the customer, it is always of great importance to let all stakeholders participate in the status of the work and relevant decisions. This is referred to as stakeholder engagement. The idea is that through analysis and suggestions from external partners, a certain resistance to this intervention can develop. However, one make the experience that a view from the outside can be quite helpful to rethink products and processes to get closer to the set goal. In order to reconcile these two sides and thus achieve the best possible and sustainable result of the
collaboration, it is very important to involve all areas of work and hierarchical levels.

Living in Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands, located on the Ij, is in my opinion one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Especially the famous city center with its many canals, the so-called Grachten, is stunningly beautiful. As a first recommendation from my side are therefore not any museums or special buildings, but simply a long walk in the canal belt of the city. Within this beautiful area, you should rather avoid the middle between the Central Station and Dam Square, because most tourists are here. Culturally, the city has an incredible amount to offer. It has the highest museum density in the world and contains, among other things, in the famous Rijksmuseum also many international works of geniuses such as Rembrandt or van Gogh. As another classic, the Anne Frank House is definitely recommended. The minimalist exhibition of the rooms where the family hid from the Nazis is oppressive and yet incredibly fascinating. However, early booking is necessary. If you want to spend a little more time in nature, you can explore the huge city park Amsterdamse Bos.

The bottom line is that my personal field of activity during the internship deviates only slightly from the field of activity of a junior consultant. The reason for this is that I and other interns are generally very well integrated into the work of the core team, with consideration being given to the strengths, skills and preferences of the individuals. Overall, it can be said that the daily work routine is very diverse. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the work on four different projects in conjunction with the cross-project work covers several sectors of the industrial economy as well as sociopolitical aspects. On the other hand, the work within a project consists of many facets. This includes research of relevant data as well as their processing and integration into models. This data analysis often includes the recognition of patterns and the translation into information that can be presented to the client. Furthermore, the evaluation of interventions to address different points of sustainable performance of private and public organizations plays an important role. On the one hand, this requires a clear understanding of the problem to be solved, for which a thorough understanding of the data provided is necessary. Additionally, a basic knowledge of industrial processes with the corresponding physics or chemistry behind them is necessary. Another important component of the work, also for me as an intern, is a well thought-out and transparent communication with customers and partners.

My experience in Rotterdam, Netherlands

October 10th, 2022 | by
  • Architecture M.Sc.
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Barcode Architects
  • March 2022 -August 2022


From March to August 2022, I was doing a six-month Internship at Barcode Architects, an international architecture office in Rotterdam (Netherlands). It has been an amazing experience, where I was able to work with many interesting and talented people from all over the world on a variety of different projects. I recommend doing an internship at this office and in general in Rotterdam. Rotterdam is a great city especially for architecture students (but of course also for everybody else) because it is an “architecture city”. What I mean by that is that you can find there various buildings, architecture related events and international offices. It is a young, dynamic city that offers different activities and events every week for everyone who is interested.

Preparation / Apartment search / General tips:
After I got the confirmation of my internship position, I started looking for an accommodation. In the Netherlands, most people I know found their accommodation through Facebook or the housing website Kamernet. It wasn’t easy to find a room, but finally I was lucky to find a nice one in a shared apartment before my arrival. I recommend you to start as early as possible to search for an accommodation and respond quickly to possible advertisements because the housing market in the Netherlands in general and in larger cities in particular is tight. I was living in beautiful Rotterdam North, which is a family-friendly district with lots of old Dutch houses and a calm atmosphere. It’s right above the central station, so very centrally located. I just needed approximately 10 to 13 min. by bike to get to the office. Everything you need in Rotterdam (and the Netherlands in general) to get around, is a bike because there are separate bike lanes next to the streets, almost everywhere in the city. And although Rotterdam is large, you get everywhere fast by bike and if you want to go further, it has a well-developed public transport system.

Leisure / Going out:
You will always find something to do in your spare time in Rotterdam, whether you want to dance on a festival, get some drinks at a bar, visit another city nearby as Delft or The Hague, do some sports or visit an art exhibition or event. Every week something else is happening in Rotterdam. One of these exciting events were the Rotterdam Architecture month. The whole of June was dedicated to architecture and you could visit lectures and rooftops in Rotterdam. There were also special rooftop installations designed by the architecture office MVRDV, to show how we could use existing rooftops to create more sustainable cities. There also some beaches nearby Rotterdam as for example Hoek van Holland or Scheveningen which you can easily reach by public transport to go swimming, sunbathe or rent a surfboard. Overall, it was a great time, during which I was able to learn a lot and broaden my horizons. I’m grateful for this experience and also for the support of the Erasmus Internship organization.


© Laetitia Augustyniak

© Laetitia Augustyniak