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SIT Netherlands Sexuality and Gender

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring


Amsterdam, Netherlands




2.5 GPA, good academic and disciplinary standing, previous college-level coursework or other preparation in sexuality and/or gender studies, as assessed by SIT.

Application Due:

Spring 9/27, Fall 3/15

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Amsterdam canal

The SIT Experience
• Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
• Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
• Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
• A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
• Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
• A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Netherlands International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

Acquire an intersectional understanding of the complexities and paradoxes that surround issues of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands — commonly believed to be one of the world’s most progressive and tolerant countries.

The program examines the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, class, and religion, and highlights the experiences of the growing number of postcolonial and post-migration subjects living in these intersections. Apart from looking at theories and applications of gender studies, LGBT studies and sexuality studies in activism, the program interrogates how identity is affected by gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class, both as they are experienced and as they are perceived. During the program, you will make field visits to different NGOs and organizations advocating for gender, LGBT, and sexual rights; an excursion to Morocco provides additional international perspectives on program themes.

Major topics of study include:

  • Queer and LGBT activism in the Netherlands
  • Feminist and sex-positive activism in the Netherlands
  • Paradoxes surrounding same-sex marriage rights
  • Sex work and sex workers’ rights in the Netherlands
  • Attitudes toward gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion within postcolonial communities coming from the former Dutch colonies (Indonesia, Suriname, the Dutch Caribbean) and post-migration communities (Morocco and Turkey), as well as the gendered and sexualized perceptions of these communities

For more information see SIT's webpage.

SIT Academic Program

students discussing

Amsterdam (program base)

Based in Amsterdam, this program offers rich opportunities for you to explore issues of gender and sexuality through international and intersectional lenses. Amsterdam’s wealth of community organizations focused on sexuality and gender issues allows you to get actively involved and learn from professionals, researchers, and activists. Community volunteer opportunities help you develop your learning and communicative skills when working with a local organization or community. This helps you gain access to the research subjects you want to study for your Independent Study Project as well as an inside perspective on Dutch society.

Specialized Archives and Research Centers

The Netherlands hosts a number of specialized archives and research centers related to the program’s themes. You will visit and make use of the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center (IHLIA) housed at the Amsterdam Public Library and the library and archive of the women’s movement in the Atria Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History. You will also attend lectures and events at the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (ARS-GS) at the University of Amsterdam. Scholars from the center occasionally lecture for SIT and advise students on their Independent Study Projects. You can also visit the George Mosse lectures — a series of lectures focused on LGBTQ topics — at the University of Amsterdam.

Local Excusions

In addition to the program’s major excursion to Morocco, you will experience local excursions that include a trip to The Hague where you will visit the HIVOS international development organization, which supports women’s and LGBT groups around the world. During the visit to the Rutgers World Population Foundation in Utrecht, you will meet with professionals involved in developing sex education curriculum and programs used in the Netherlands and internationally. In Amsterdam, you will visit the Red Light District, where the Prostitution Information Center will address sex workers’ rights, and Mama Cash, the world’s oldest women’s fund that support women’s and transgender rights throughout the world.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

You will spend part of the semester developing and refining your Independent Study Project (ISP) proposal. Near the end of the semester, you will devote four weeks to working on the ISP, during which time you will pursue original research on a selected topic of your interest. The ISP is conducted in Amsterdam or another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas include: life stories of female farmers in the Netherlands, multicultural approaches to sex education, female body image in magazines and its effect on women's self-perception, perceptions of virginity among young lesbian women, the role of Afro-Surinamese women in community activism in Amsterdam Bijlmer, identity and belonging among male gay Muslim migrants and refugees, or family life among same-sex couples.

Program Dates

For program dates, please consult SIT's webpage

For More Information

The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam canals at night

This program in based in Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands and commonly known as “Venice of the North." It's easy to feel at home with the more than 750,000 easy-going and welcoming residents of this cosmopolitan center, which still manages to retain its small-town feel. Study abroad in Amsterdam and you’ll experience a city that is full of life both day and night with world-renowned museums, art galleries, music, opera, theater, and dance, not to mention some of the most forward and liberal social ideas.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Typical Amsterdam house

Amsterdam homestay

You will live with a homestay family in Amsterdam for 12 weeks. Hosts are of different ethnic backgrounds and include LGBT households, single parents, and traditional families, all of whom offer unique insights into issues of sexuality and gender within a Dutch and multicultural context.

Accommodations for Excursions

Other accommodations during the program include hostels and modest hotels.

Educational Excursions


The Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender program includes exceptional, field-based learning opportunities for a broader and deeper understanding of course content. In addition to shorter, in-country visits, the program travels to Morocco, giving students additional insight on the issues of sexuality, gender, and migration from a different international perspective.


During this two-week excursion, students engage with Moroccan academics, researchers, and activists to examine the issue of sexuality and gender in a modern and Islamic society. The role of Islamic minorities is a crucial social issue in much of Europe, and issues of gender and sexuality are seen as the most visible fault line of societal tensions. Traveling to Morocco grants students the opportunity to examine these issues from a very different cultural context and perspective. Additionally, as Moroccan immigrants comprise one of the largest migrant communities in the Netherlands, this excursion also focuses on the issue of gender and migration.

Highlights include:
• Rabat, Morocco's capital, a garden city founded in the twelfth century
• Casablanca, an economic hub
• Fes and Marrakech, imperial cities founded in the ninth and eleventh centuries
• Essaouira, a coastal city with sub-Saharan African cultural roots

Netherlands Excursions

The program also includes excursions within the Netherlands. Highlights include:
• Mama Cash, an international funder for women's rights organizations worldwide
• The Rutgers / World Population Foundation, international center of expertise on sexuality and reproductive health and rights and home to the largest archive dedicated to social sexual research (Utrecht)
• Humanity House, museum and platform on humanitarian themes and peacebuilding
• Amsterdam’s Red Light District with staff from the Prostitute Information Center
• Atria Institute for Emancipation and Women's History
• International Gay and Lesbian Archive
• The HIVOS foundation, one of the main Dutch international development funding organizations, to discuss civil society, sexuality, and development with HIVOS professional staff

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to the Netherlands, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Information about airport pick up will be given at orientation. Students should book airfare to correspond with the arrival and departure dates given by SIT.


Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing, as well as previous college-level coursework or other preparation in sexuality and/or gender studies, as assessed by SIT. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.


The cost sheet (forthcoming) outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary, the credit is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details!

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
Within the first nine days after the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
10-19 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
20-44 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
45 or more days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website by clicking UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with the Study Abroad advisor for the Netherlands before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling #319.335.0353.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Flight/Travel Arrangements

SIT will provide you with a document called "International Flight Information" that will assist you with making travel plans and give the information you need to purchase your flight. Please refer to this document.


If you need a visa SIT will send you a document titled "Passport and Visa Information" and you should follow these instructions. Contact the SIT visa coordinator with questions or reach out to Study Abroad. You must have a passport valid for 6 months after your return date in order to apply for the visa, so please renew or apply for your passport as soon as possible. Note: American residents do not require a student visa on this program

Program Payment

You will be billed for the program on your U-Bill through the University of Iowa's billing office. Billing occurs the semester you're abroad and is due with the first U-Bill of the term, this allows for financial aid and scholarships to disperse BEFORE the bill is due.

Resources and Cultural Information

Biking, a favorite Dutch pastime

SIT Resources

Contact a Former Student
SIT Confirmation Materials
Pre-Departure Materials by Program
SIT Medical Review