Global Exchange trip to the Netherlands

20 February 2024

Hear from Scarlett and Eloise from the Lower Fifth (Year 10) about their Global Exchange trip to the Netherlands where they attended Dr Nassau College.

Eloise: During the Lent term, Scarlett and I were lucky enough to be able to visit Dr Nassau College in the Netherlands for 10 days. It was very interesting to see how different the school life was there, and to visit the beautiful cities around where we were staying. Our buddies, Hanna and Wouke, were both really nice and it was a great experience to get to know them and their friends after many excited messages over the Christmas break.

Upon landing in Amsterdam, we were immediately taken to visit the Reich Museum which was only a short ride away on the tram from the train. The paintings were all very beautiful, and it was interesting to learn about the history behind them! We then visited the Tony’s Chocoloney store, where we got to design our own chocolate bar, which was a highlight of the day. After a day full of excitement we were very tired, so made our way home on the 2 hour train back to Assen, where we were greeted by our host family’s.


Scarlett: We got to school the next day. Most people rode bikes to school, and we enjoyed riding to school with our buddies. Everyone spoke Dutch during the lessons. It was difficult to understand at times, but all the teachers made sure we had English copies of the work.  

The school life there was very different as they did not wear uniform, and their school days were a lot shorter. The longest day, which was Wednesday, only lasted until 4:20, and they finished at 12:00 on Friday and Tuesday. They also did not do sport every day; instead, and could pick between sport and culture, which is a mixture of drama, music, art, photography and film for other days. Overall, school life felt a lot more casual compared to Downe House. 

Eloise: Whilst at school we helped with an Open Day and also did some recording to help with a group project for their culture lesson, where they needed to create a film trailer for an already existing TV show or movie.  

Scarlett: At the weekend we visited Utrecht, which was an hour train journey away from Assen. When we got there, everyone was in costumes, and we could hear music playing. After going outside, we could see a marching band which was a week early for carnival. Carnival is a festival that takes place in February every year in the Netherlands. It marks the beginning of lent and focuses on reversing social roles and abandoning norms. In the past, it was thought of as the reign of winter spirits being driven out for summer to return.  

Eloise: We were also lucky to get to go to Groningen. After arriving, we climbed up the Martini tower – 260 steep steps later, we were able to see the beautiful view! After that, we saw the forum, which was a tall building, with a big library and a beautiful building structure. On one of the ten floors, we found a short VR experience to watch about earth from space and protecting the planet.

Scarlett: The last day was very bittersweet, as Eloise and I were sad to say goodbye to Hanna and Wouke, but excited to see more of Amsterdam. We said goodbye to all of our friends, before then heading off into Amsterdam. We tried fresh stroopwafels, which are a Dutch delicacy! And then headed to the airport.

This was a great experience, and we cannot recommend going on the exchange programme enough! We all had an unforgettable time and are looking forward to when Wouke and Hanna visit England.

Find out more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme here.


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