Working in the Netherlands as an international student

Santiago Zuluaga
Santiago Zuluaga is Colombian born, Aruban raised Economics student. Santiago is an active member of the Asset Economics blog committee and a student ambassador at Tilburg University. He has various interests in the topics of Globalization, technological advancement and Economics.

As I entered the last year of my bachelor, I asked myself many questions about what comes next. Questions like “Where should I look for a job?” or “Should I head back home or find a job here in the Netherlands?” These are questions we have all asked ourselves at some point or the other.
Many people find it scary to work abroad and might let good opportunities pass by out of fear. It does not have to be this way as studying in another country already gives you many advantages. This is why I have decided to write series of articles which relate to working in the Netherlands as an International student. In this first article I will state some reasons why I believe you must not feel discouraged and still try to put yourself out there, even if you feel odds are against you.


You possess something not every local person has, an international spirit.

Even though lately it seems like the world is just pulling back and like every country wants to isolate and build walls around themselves, it does not mean that it will actually happen. Globalization is here to stay and companies put high value in people who can understand and operate under this framework. When it comes to the Netherlands, it is a relatively small country with many business giants trying to recruit as many new talents as possible. There is when being an International student becomes valuable and critical. As an international student, you have been forced to adapt to new cultures, you got to know hundreds of people from different other backgrounds and you were learning something new every day. All this while having to deal with university. This makes you a great candidate and gives you certain advantages on people who do not have your experiences.



The opportunities are out there; you just need to know where to look.

One thing that many people do not realize is that they might be looking completely at the wrong place when searching for an internship or a job. The local small firm at the center of the city might be only looking for Dutch speaking candidates because they do not really deal with customers from outside the country. This is when researching each company and their branches becomes important. This is not something specific for International oriented jobs but also for any other job. Furthermore, it is very important to expand your network and actually use that network to its full potential!
Here, you must act yourself and there are many ways to do this but I can mention a few. Many of the activities organized at the university like the Economics Business Week or Business Days are perfect ways to get to know who is out there looking for future employees. Also, making use of the career portals and looking into databases like Integrand are good ways to get a picture and an idea of what is being offered. Last but not least, that friend who you greet from time to time and of who you heard just got an internship in Amsterdam. Talk to this person, ask how he/ she found and got the position. Oh, and don’t forget to brush up your LinkedIn profile!


Working in a foreign country is an invaluable experience.

One of the most important reasons in wanting to have a job out of your home country is the reward of the experience itself. Being in a company with an international environment can bring up new challenges and new skills like language and communication. You will become more confident as a person as you are constantly out of you comfort zone. All these things can open doors for you, doors that might actually help you get an even better job in the future. Furthermore, you will not only deal with people of your age and of your interests. Instead, you will have to deal with dozens of people from all categories of age, occupations, customers, managers and coworkers. This is an experience which is invaluable and will only add to your skills and knowledge.

There are many reasons to think that working abroad is not for you. Not everyone has to embark in this journey and there are many other ways to succeed in your career. But if you still think that this is what you should do, you should not let fear and doubt limit you from achieving your goal and dream.
In my next article I will interview a ex-student of Tilburg University who started an internship and I will talk about her experiences so stay tuned!


Image source: Mish Sukharev / Flickr



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *