Studying in the Netherlands

Hey! I am a freshman in high school this year and I am starting to think about college. For years, I have always wanted to move to Europe. The US isn’t really my type of place, even though I have never lived anywhere else. And after lots of research, I think I would like to move to the Netherlands or at least study there. However, I have no idea what schools are right for me or even where to start!
Here is some things about me. I plan to go to college (if not in the netherlands than at either UNC or Duke), get my bachlors degree in biology, go to medical school, and become a dermatologist. Currently, I am taking the hardest classes I can take as a freshman and I am doubling up on math freshmen and sophomore year(AP world history, Seminar Biology, Honors Math 2, Honors Math 3, and Seminar English) and I plan to be taking all (or all but 1 or 2) AP classes junior and senior year. I am also Mexican, I heard minorities have a little extra help getting into colleges. And my brother is at Duke University, making me a legacy(duke cares a lot about legacy) and I have some help with college applications and things like that. I am currently planning to take very similar classes my brother took. However, as you can probably tell, I am quite bad at English class, I tend to do very well in school besides English. I struggle at writing, unless it is something I am very passionate about, which usually isn’t the case. My extracurriculars include; I will have been dancing for 14 years by the time I apply for colleges, Key Club(you do 30 hours of community service and it looks good on college applications according to my brother and mom), medical club, french club, American Red Cross Club, and I am in Crosby Scholars (it is this club where you do community service and it helps you with college and scholarships). I plan to be in these clubs all four years. If you have any advice or help for me I would really appricieate it!

If you want to go to medical school then studying abroad (part from maybe a year abroad) will not work for you. Med schools in the US want you to take all the prerequisite classes in the US.

Agree with @Conformist1688 on pre-med.

A few things to know if you want to go to university in Europe anyway:

  1. the important admissions piece is AP scores in subjects relevant to what you are applying to study. They won’t care at all about ECs.
  2. in non-English language countries (such as the Netherlands), there are limited English-language options
  3. there is no ‘preferential’ treatment for minorities, but US students who meet the requirements typically have good admissions outcomes (except at a handful of top tier universities, such as Oxford), thanks to the higher tuition
  4. the only financial aid is FAFSA loans (for universities that qualify)
  5. the university experience is very different than the US- in many cases it is more like a commuter college in the US. The whole sports/school spirit thing that you see at Duke & Chapel Hill does not exist.
  6. same as the US, enrolling in college will get you a visa to live there during college- but not after.

Medical education works differently in Europe. Students enter medical school right out of high school and the pre-med curriculum is integrated into the medical school curriculum.

If you complete medical school proper in Europe, you may have a hard time transitioning back to the US. You would in all cases need to complete a US residency, even if you’ve already had equivalent training in Europe. Graduates of foreign medical schools, even if US citizens, face a distinct disadvantage in the Match program that assigns residency applicants to residency spots. In the 2020 match, 61% of US citizen graduates of international medical schools were matched, compared to 94% of seniors at US medical schools.

Alternatively, if you complete a regular non-medical undergraduate degree in Europe, you most certainly won’t meet all of the pre-med requirements for admission to US medical school. That can be remedied, e.g. with a year-long post-baccalaureate pre-med program, but that adds expense and uncertainty to an already-expensive training program.

Alternatively, you may prefer to stay in Europe and work as a physician there. If that’s your goal, be aware that:

  • You’ll need to learn the local language fluently.
  • Physicians earn significantly less in many European countries than they do in the US, though I don’t know about the Netherlands specifically. Still solidly middle class but not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.

Just realized that you said you’re a high school freshman. Have you heard of high school year abroad programs? You’d live with a local host family and attend school in a country of your choice for a year.

That would be a more immediate opportunity to experience life abroad before you make a decision as consequential as which country to pursue your college education and professional training in.

Here’s one such program by a well-regarded non-profit organization:

Do you speak Dutch?