Acquire an intersectional understanding of the complexities and paradoxes surrounding issues of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands.
Examine the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, class, and religion.
Learn about the experiences of post-migration and postcolonial individuals living in these intersections within the Netherlands. You’ll consider topics such as multicultural sexual politics, sex education classes and multi-ethnic kids, and the experiences of queer Muslims. You’ll look at the gendered and racialized history of migrants coming from the Netherlands’ former colonies and the instability of postcolonial citizenship. You’ll also have discussions on LGBT activism, LGBT history in Amsterdam, gay marriage rights, LGBT sexual health, gender diversity, and transgender issues.
Choose to do independent field research or an internship.
The internship will allow you to gain work experience and professional and intercultural skills at a Dutch organization. The independent research option lets you delve into an issue related to the program’s themes.
Talk to experts in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague.
SIT Amsterdam has a broad network that includes many of the key figures and organizations in the field of gender and sexuality, and this will enable you to get actively involved and learn from professionals, researchers, and activists. Hear from experts at the IHLIA LGBT Heritage archives in Amsterdam, Hivos International in The Hague, and Rutgers International in Utrecht. Visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District to learn about sex work and the (legal) position of sex workers. Meet Chris Belloni, director of the documentary I Am Gay and Muslim (2012).
Spend two weeks in Morocco.
Learn about gender and sexuality in a Moroccan/Muslim context. See the Moroccan cities Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, and Casablanca.
Enjoy access to specialized archives and research centers in the Netherlands.
You’ll visit the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center housed at the Amsterdam Public Library and the international archive and documentation center of the women’s movement in the Atria Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History. You can attend lectures and events at the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam. Scholars from this center occasionally lecture for SIT and are sometimes advisors for the Independent Study Projects. You can also visit the George Mosse lectures—a series of lectures focused on LGBT+ topics—at the University of Amsterdam.
The program’s base, Amsterdam, offers rich opportunities for you to explore issues of gender and sexuality through international and intersectional lenses. Besides being a city in which the history of liberal (and liberating) struggles is visible and lived, Amsterdam is home to a wide range of organizations focused on sexuality and gender issues. There are also many different communities—migrant and post-colonial, LGBT+, squatters, and students from four different universities.
Participate in an optional volunteer project.
There are many opportunities for community volunteer experiences that will help you develop your learning and communications skills while working with an NGO or cultural or grassroots organization in the Netherlands. This can help you gain access to those people you would like to interview for your Independent Study Project or can help you identify an internship placement. It will also provide you with an inside perspective on Dutch society.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Migration | Identity | Resilience
Previous college-level coursework or other preparation in sexuality and/or gender studies, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- LGBT+ and queer activism in the Netherlands
- Paradoxes surrounding homosexuality and nationalism
- Feminist and sex-positive activism in the Netherlands
- Sex and gender education in the Netherlands
- 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) and the gendered and sexualized perceptions of these communities
- How identity is affected by gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class, both as experienced and as perceived
Program in a minute-ish
Students attend two thematic seminars, one on LGBT+, Feminist, and Sexuality Studies and one on Migration, Gender, and Sexuality. Each seminar consists of modules, led by a coordinator, in which researchers, practitioners, and activists provide a broad range of perspectives on sexuality and gender in Dutch and international contexts. Lecturers represent a variety of disciplines, including women’s and gender studies, LGBT+ studies, intersectionality, migration and ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, and sexology.
Each semester, one of the module coordinators organizes a forum on a topic that is currently debated in the Netherlands. We invite a broad range of people from outside SIT Amsterdam to join the students in a public discussion on topics like sex worker rights; art, gender, and race; and gender in the refugee crisis. For the students, the forum provides an excellent opportunity to connect with researchers and activists.
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Theory and Application of Feminist, Lesbigay, and Queer Studies – syllabus
- (GEND3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The seminar presents an interdisciplinary look at selected topics in sexuality, gender studies, and activism. It explores the intersectional nature of gender and sexuality in the Dutch context and enables students to gain a thorough understanding of the social movements concerning sexuality and gender in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The seminar pays attention to social history and to important epistemological and methodological debates in the social sciences, asking key questions such as: What is identity/identification? What is masculinity/femininity? How is sexuality expressed in social processes and practices? If sexuality and gender are “constructions,” what does that mean? Lectures focus on feminist theory, LGBTQ+ studies, and sexuality studies and consider topics that include LGBT+, feminist, and sex positivist activism in the Netherlands; sexuality and gender in sex education; gender education in secondary schools; paradoxes around same-sex marriage rights; and transgender issues.
- Migration, Gender, and Sexuality – syllabus
- (GEND3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This seminar includes three modules and examines migration and migrant communities in the Netherlands, focusing primarily on postcolonial migration from Indonesia, Suriname, and the Antilles and on labor migration from Turkey and Morocco. The seminar explores how issues of migration, gender, and sexuality impact the experience of postcolonial and post-migration people living in the Netherlands and examines the gendered and sexualized perceptions native Dutch communities have of these communities. It pays close attention to the ways in which the recent shift toward a politics of assimilation affects feelings of belonging and marginalization as well as citizenship rights of postcolonial and post-migration citizens in the Netherlands. During a two-week excursion to Morocco, students examine these issues of gender and sexuality in the context of one of the primary migrant-sending nations.
- Dutch – syllabus
- (DUTC1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This course focuses on acquiring a working knowledge of the Dutch language related to sexuality and gender and to everyday life in the Netherlands. Students are almost always at the beginner’s level and during the semester acquire a basic understanding of Dutch, a vocabulary that is related to the program’s themes, and basic grammar. At the end of the course, most students are able to read news items and short articles in the Dutch language.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The seminar includes lectures on qualitative methods of research in social sciences and in particular in the critical global issues of migration, identity, and resilience; development of a research or internship proposal; and preparation of an application for review of research with human subjects. All students will participate in an overview of research design and methodological approaches to program themes. Ethical considerations related to conducting research or completing an internship will be discussed. The overall aim is to help students hone their experience-based learning processes and prepare them for the development of an Independent Study Project, which is largely based on the data gathered from primary sources, or an internship at a local organization. A cornerstone of the course is the oral history module, in which students learn research methods for gathering (qualitative) data through life stories and personal narratives.
In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
- Internship and Seminar – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO in the Netherlands. The aim of the internship is to enable students to gain valuable work experience and enhance their skills in an international work environment. Specifically, students will conduct an internship in the context of gender and sexuality issues in the Netherlands, and a focus will be on linking internship learning with the program’s critical global issues of migration, identity, and resilience. The seminar includes regular reflection and assessment meetings with the academic director or internship coordinator to review the progress of the internship and learning associated with the internship experience. Students complete a substantial academic paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization. Students also conduct an oral presentation of their internship experience and findings.
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- The last four weeks of the semester will be devoted solely to the ISP, during which time you will pursue original research on a topic you choose that is related to the program’s theme. The ISP is most often conducted in Amsterdam, but another location is possible as long as it is relevant to the project. Sample topic areas: negotiating religion and homosexuality; interracial relationships in the Dutch postcolonial context; multicultural approaches to sex education; black feminist activism in the Netherlands; Dutch-Moroccan women’s conceptions of virginity; gay men and their experiences with HIV testing; vernacular expressions of women of color.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender program includes field-based learning opportunities for a broader and deeper understanding of the program’s theme. In addition to shorter, in-country visits, the program travels to Morocco, giving you additional insight on the issues of sexuality, gender, and migration from a different international perspective.
You will go on multiple local excursions within the Netherlands. You’ll visit The Hague, where you will see the Houses of Parliament to get an idea of the Dutch democracy’s political organization and the HIVOS international development organization, which supports women’s and LGBT groups around the world.
In Utrecht you’ll visit the Rutgers World Population Foundation, where you will meet with professionals involved in developing sex education curricula and programs used in the Netherlands and internationally.
In Amsterdam, you will visit the Red Light District and learn about sex workers’ rights at the Prostitution Information Center, look for traces of the colonial past during the Black Heritage Tour, and visit sites significant in the struggle for LGBT+ rights.
During this two-week excursion, you will engage with Moroccan academics, researchers, and activists to examine sexuality and gender in a modern 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 demarcation of societal tensions. As Moroccan immigrants comprise one of the largest migrant communities in the Netherlands, this excursion also focuses on the issue of gender and sexuality in countries of origin. The excursion challenges you to reflect on how your own positionality may affect your perception of Morocco.
In your first week in Morocco, you will hear lectures on gender and sexuality in a Moroccan context. In the second week you’ll travel to a few cities and explore the diversity of Morocco and your perception of the Orient. While here, you will visit Rabat, Morocco’s capital, a garden city founded in the 12th century; Casablanca, an economic hub; and Fes and Marrakech, imperial cities founded in the 9th and 11th centuries.
Important Travel and Visa Notice
Notice: You will be traveling on a 90-day Schengen Tourist Visa. US citizens are permitted to remain in the Schengen zone on a tourist visa for only 90 days within a 180-day period. The Schengen zone is a group of European countries, including the Netherlands, with a mutual immigration agreement.
The SIT Netherlands program will take the entire 90 days. This means that you cannot travel in the Schengen area 180 days prior to the start of the program or 180 days after the end of the program. If you are planning to participate in another program in Europe either before or after this program, you should inform your admissions counselor immediately. Also note that Iceland is a Schengen country. Staying there prior to or after the flight to or from Amsterdam is not permitted.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Garjan Sterk, PhD Candidate, Academic Director
Garjan holds a degree in Dutch literature and an additional master’s degree in ethnic studies. She is a PhD candidate in gender studies and is working on research into the way specific positions and categories impact meaning-giving processes. She has worked for the last 30 years in the fields of gender, ethnicity, and media, specializing in representations, journalism, and popular culture. She has held several positions as a media researcher and as a project manager in various nonprofit organizations.
Her last position was as a lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science, Department of Media, Information, and Communication. She taught and instructed students, ages 18–24, in various courses. Her main responsibility was research methodology, but she also taught popular culture, gender and ethnic diversity, media and society, and media research. She supervised and coached students during their final thesis research. Garjan is deeply committed to student education in the area of research methodology and likes to explore with students how to formulate and tackle a research question.
Yvette Kopijn, PhD Candidate, Academic Advisor and Internship Coordinator
Yvette began working with the program in 2008 and has held different positions. In addition to advising and coordinating internships, she leads field study sessions for the Research Methods and Ethics seminar. Yvette holds a degree in gender and ethnic studies. She is a PhD candidate within the School of Social Science Research and is a member of the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the intersection of gendered survival strategies and constructions of female identity among Javanese women coming from the former Dutch colony Suriname. As an oral historian, Yvette worked with several cultural heritage organizations and conducted different oral history projects, including Haar Geschiedenis (“Her History”), an online collection of life stories of migrant women in the Netherlands. She provides oral history training and hosts storytelling workshops, most notably for (postcolonial) migrants and their offspring. Yvette comes from a postcolonial migrant family with diverse sexual identities. She was born in Aruba (Dutch Antilles) and is part of a Moroccan-Dutch-Indies household.
Sabine Bastiaans, Program Assistant
Sabine has an MS in gender, sexuality, and society and a minor in international development studies from the University of Amsterdam. She has since been involved in trans(gender) advocacy through such groups as Principle17. She has always preferred an intersectional approach, seeking like-minded people at the University of Colour: Decolonization School. Although she was born with a Dutch passport, she comes from a broad international upbringing, having been born in Panama and raised in Peru, Bolivia, Austria, and Thailand. During her BS (in communications) she enjoyed a semester abroad in Turkey and an internship in the UAE.
Bastiaan Franse, Homestay Coordinator
Bastiaan’s task is to find host families who will welcome students into their homes for the program’s time in Amsterdam and to manage all issues related to the homestays. The students check in with Bastiaan on a regular basis, and Bastiaan stays in touch with the host families. Besides working for SIT, Bastiaan works as a social worker with trans* youth and their families, facilitates youth groups for trans* youth, and educates high school students and professionals in education and healthcare on gender diversity. Bastiaan was on the founding board of Transgender Netwerk Nederland and has been working in youth care since 2001.
Tobias Dörfler, Financial Assistant
Tobias assists with administrative tasks, primarily finances. He holds a degree in gender studies and international relations. Tobias is the owner of Buro Grondig and offers services in project support, student tutoring, and German language training. He began collaborating with SIT as student advisor in 2005. In addition to administrative support, he also provides a class on masculinity and a workshop on research report composition.
Eduard Verbree, Language Instructor
Eduard is the director of Mercuurtaal, an independent language institute. He is a gifted teacher and tailors the Nederlandse les (Dutch class) to the themes of the SIT program. He also coordinates additional classes and activities on aspects of Dutch culture.
Sampling of additional lecturers for this program:
Chandra Frank, MPhil, PhD Candidate
Chandra holds an MPhil in African studies from the University of Cape Town and is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths College in London. Her research focuses on the embodiment of resistance within the black feminist movement in the Netherlands. Together with Sarah Klerks, she runs Gerilja Kurating (G/K), an online magazine that explores the meaning and presence of black visual arts today. For Framed Framed, she is currently working toward an exhibition that critically explores the relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands. The module she coordinates for SIT focuses on the history of feminism in the Netherlands, with a particular focus on the black feminist movement, transnational feminism, and the shift to material feminism with its focus on the body. Her module includes a field visit to ATRIA and the Bijlmerpark Theater, a cultural center for and by the various communities living in the Southeast of Amsterdam.
Laurens is a social scientist working at the University of Amsterdam. In his work, he explores the concepts of identity and sexuality with a focus on Dutch culture. In his study of the perpetrators of antigay violence (2009), he argues that dominant conceptualizations of both gay acceptance and homophobia—as “assets” of ethnic, religious, or cultural traditions—are inaccurate and contribute to nationalistic myths of a progressive Dutch nation confronted with external intolerant threats. Instead, he proposes to see incidents of violence as “rites of passage,” in which masculinity, societal status, and peer recognition are at stake. Other themes in his work are the rise of the new right-wing anti-Islam parties after 9/11, the development of emancipation movements since the 1960s, and the making of “typically Dutch” policy measures, such as gay marriage, legalization of prostitution, and drug policies. He leads module on LGBT studies and activism.
Marije studied at Utrecht University within the fields of gender studies and (new) media and digital culture and has been active within the field of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands. As an activist, she focuses on sex worker rights and has initiated different events around sexuality, ranging from underground multidisciplinary festivals to workshops around positive sexual education for professionals. She initiated the Get a Room! film series, a bimonthly film and discussion event focusing on all aspects of sexuality. After success in both Amsterdam and Utrecht, Get a Room! is now taking place in Rotterdam and Eindhoven. Within SIT, Marije is responsible for the sexuality studies module, focusing on sex positivism, sex work, sex education, and feminist pornography. Part of her module is an excursion to the Red Light District in Amsterdam and a visit to Rutgers/WPF in Utrecht, the oldest organization in the Netherlands working on the enhancement of sexual education.
Nancy Jouwe, PhD Candidate
Nancy has an MA in gender studies and cultural history from the Universities of Utrecht and York. Over the past 21 years, she has worked as a managing director of the NGO Mama Cash and the cultural organization Kosmopolis. As an activist, she has been involved since the mid-80s with squatters’, women’s, indigenous peoples’, and queer movements, especially in the Asia/Oceania region. Nancy is affiliated with the Humanistic University in Utrecht, where she is a PhD candidate and a curator and researcher at the crossroads of art, cultural heritage, and postcolonial history. She lectures on gender, sexuality, and postcolonial communities for SIT.
Paul Mepschen, PhD
Paul is a social anthropologist working at the University of Amsterdam. His work focuses on populism and the politics of belonging in postcolonial and post-Fordist Europe. His PhD concentrated on the culturalization of citizenship and the construction of “autochthony” in the Netherlands, looking at the intersections of cultural, class, and urban politics and struggles over power and representation in a particular Amsterdam neighborhood. Another focus of Paul’s work has been the role of sexuality in the politics of culturalization and in Dutch racism and Islamophobia. He has analyzed the entanglements of “homonormative” representations of gay rights politics with Dutch neo-nationalist populism and anti-Islam discourses. As an activist, Paul has been involved in various progressive social movements, including labor and anti-racism activism. He co-founded the leftist think tank TENK. He lectures on gender, sexuality, and post-migration communities for SIT.
Guno Jones, PhD
Guno received his PhD at the VU University in Amsterdam and has held several research and teaching positions at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. He has participated in many post-doc research projects, including the programs Inclusive Thinking: The Policy and Practice of Diversity in the Netherlands in Historical Context and The Dynamics of War Heritage, Memory, and Remembrance. Guno has published many articles and books, including an article on the instability of postcolonial citizenship in the anthology Dutch Racism. He also has worked as a manuscript reviewer for the journals Ethnic and Racial Studies and Women’s Studies. He is the program’s research methods and ethics module coordinator.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
During the semester 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. They all offer unique insights into issues of sexuality and gender within a Dutch and multicultural context.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels and modest hotels.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
From the start of the semester, you will be developing and refining your Independent Study Project (ISP) proposal. The last four weeks of the semester will be devoted solely to the ISP, during which time you will pursue original research on a topic you choose that is related to the program’s theme. The ISP is most often conducted in Amsterdam, but another approved location is possible as long as it is relevant to the project.
Sample ISP topic areas:
- Negotiating religion and homosexuality
- Interracial relationships in the Dutch postcolonial context
- Intergenerational dating strategies
- Black feminist activism in the Netherlands
- Dating strategies of older lesbian women in the Netherlands
- Multicultural approaches to sex education
- Female body images in media and their effects 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
- Family life among same-sex couples
You may choose to complete a four-week internship instead of the Independent Study Project. The internship allows you to assess the challenges of intersectional approaches to gender and sexuality issues in a Dutch or international context.
- Performing administrative duties at the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center
- Providing support work at the Prostitution Information Center
- Assisting men’s emancipation in Amsterdam at grassroots organization eMANcipator
- Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights for all at Rutgers/WPF
- Supporting women’s, girls’ and trans people’s movements around the world at Mama Cash, an international funder for social justice
- Conducting archiving and researching work related to gender equality and women’s history at Atria Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History
- Helping at Bijlmerpark Theater, a cultural center working with and for communities in Amsterdam Zuidoost
- Working at Vrankrijk, a queer squat in Amsterdam
- Supporting the empowerment of ethnic communities in Amsterdam’s Zuidoost at Profor
Students on this program represent many different colleges, universities, and majors. Many have gone on to do work that connects back to their experience abroad with SIT. Positions recently held by alumni of this program include:
- Associate director of college counseling and history at Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, PA
- Birth doula at Birth Partners Doulas of Connecticut, Stratford, CT
- Lead field organizer of the Alaska Democratic Party, Anchorage, AK
- Project member at Love Matters, RNW, Hilversum, Netherlands
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- LGBT studies and feminist studies
- Sexuality and sex work
- Critical theory
- Oral history and doing qualitative research
- Sexual health and gender diversity education
- Gender, sexuality, and postcoloniality
- Queer theory, migration, and globalization
- Two thematic seminars
- Research Methods and Ethics seminar, preparing for the research conducted for the ISP or internship
- Introduction course to Dutch language and culture
- All educational excursions to locations such as Utrecht, The Hague, and Morocco, including all related travel costs
- Access to all museums in the Netherlands
- Independent Study Project or Internship
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
- Bicycle, or, alternatively, local public transport
Room & Board: $5,650
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, in the program base (Amsterdam), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period.
- Homestay (12 weeks in Amsterdam)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
- Airfare to Morocco during program excursion
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Books & Supplies: $200
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.