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International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

Explore the complexities and paradoxes of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands and Morocco.

At a Glance




Relevant & demonstrated previous coursework

Language of Study


Courses taught in



Sep 2 – Dec 13

Program Countries


Program Excursion Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience


Why study abroad in the Netherlands?

Famous for its Red Light District, canals, and bicycles, Amsterdam is also an ideal city in which to explore the intersection of gender and sexuality with race, class, and religion. Meet with activists, academics, and professional sex workers and visit key places like the International Gay and Lesbian Archives and Information Center. In Utrecht and other Dutch cities, speak with sex educators, advocacy groups, and community organizers. Get a Muslim perspective on gender and sexuality during a two-week excursion to Morocco.


  • Learn from experts in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.
  • Choose from a novice or advanced academic track.
  • Volunteer with an NGO or grassroots organization in the Netherlands.
  • Discuss sex workers’ rights at Amsterdam’s the Prostitution Information Center.
  • Visit Moroccan cities of Rabat, Marrakech, and the House of Memory in Essaouira.


Previous college-level coursework or background in sexuality or gender studies, as assessed by SIT for the novice track. For the advanced studies track, students must have a major or minor with demonstrated coursework in women's studies, sexuality, gender, or queer studies.

program map


Dutch City Excursion

Each semester, students get the opportunity to spend a day in the Dutch city of their choice. Options include Rotterdam and Utrecht. (City choices in the past have also included Den Haag, Den Bosch, Delft, Gouda, Haarlem, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Leeuwarden, and Groningen.)

Utrecht, City of Students

Charming Utrecht is about 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Boasting the largest student community in the Netherlands, the city is home to Utrecht University, a large single population, and a vibrant nightlife. You might choose to visit Savannah Bay, one of the oldest feminist/lesbian bookstores, or the kink/fetish shop Laced-Up.


Migration, particularly the immigration of Muslims, is the locus for tension all over Europe. In the Netherlands, much of the discussion focuses on Moroccans, one of the largest migrant communities, and often concerns issues of gender and sexuality. Previous Morocco excursions have included stays in Tangier, Rabat, Essaouira and Marrakech, with visits to Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Safi. We’ll visit NGOs, cooperatives, museums and historical sites, and attend lectures with Moroccan activists and academics. Students will also have an opportunity to visit the ocean and the desert, shop in centuries-old souks or modern malls, and experience Moroccan cuisine.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the political impact of Dutch policies and practices concerning LGBTQI+ education, sexual education, sex work, and the promotion of sexual health.
  • Demonstrate introductory Dutch language skills.
  • Explicate the positionality of the researcher and subject, and the ethics of work with human subjects.
  • Apply critical theories in the fields of LGBTQI+ and queer studies, feminist studies, and sexuality studies at an introductory level or apply critical theories in the fields of LGBTQI+ and queer studies, feminist studies, and sexuality studies at an advanced level to produce research papers.
  • Explain the histories of post-colonial and labor-migration communities living in the Netherlands.
  • Explain how the intersection of gender and sexuality, religion, race, ethnicity, place of origin, and class determines personal identity.
  • Synthesize the learning acquired on the program in an Independent Study Project or internship paper.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Sexual politics in a multicultural society
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  • How identity is shaped by gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class
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  • Sex and gender education: policies and methods in the Netherlands
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  • Gender roles and women’s movements in Morocco

Theory and Application of Feminist, LGBTQI, and Queer Studies

Students choose between the following two thematic seminars, one for novice learners and one for advanced.

Theory and Application of Feminist, LGBTQI, and Queer Studies – syllabus
(GEND3000 / 3 credits)

Queer theory developed in the 1990s, mostly in the U.S., as an outgrowth of feminist and gender studies. Building on the work of the structuralists (particularly linguistic structuralism), the post-structuralist deconstructionists, and scholars from all fields, turned intellectual lenses onto understudied populations. It has grown from what was essentially the study of hetero- and homosexuality into a more far reaching theoretical expression of liminal spaces and what can be considered abnormal. This course, suitable for students who are new to queer and feminist theory, examines the crucial principles of queer theory, particularly as they play out in the Dutch and broader European context. We will engage with fundamental queer and feminist ideas, and explore how they relate to our city, our country, and our continent.


Advanced Theory and Application of Feminist, LGBTQI, and Queer Studies – syllabus
(GEND 3500 /  3 credits)

Queer theory developed in the 90s largely to analyze the gay community but has grown into something so much more. So much more, in fact, that is seems unmanageable. It is amorphous, its boundaries so fungible that they seem to disappear. Sometimes it gets desperately, vexingly hard to nail down what queer theory is. This course, suitable for students who have a solid grounding in queer theory, uses the lens of queer to explore these frustratingly elusive liminal edges of the field. We also explore some neighboring states, like trans, disability, and postcolonial studies in the Dutch/ European context. We aim to understand not only the theoretical possibilities, but also the lived experience, of the populations under study.

Migration, Gender, and Sexuality

Migration, Gender, and Sexuality – syllabus
(GEND3005 / 3 credits)

The course examines gender and sexuality in the context of post-colonial and post-migration subjectivities in the Netherlands and around the globe. Integrating lectures, field visits to museums and grassroots organizations, readings, and reflection sessions, the course will focus on the international aspect of the overarching topic: migration, international issues, transnational encounters, postcolonial and postmigration afterlives. Dur­ing a two-week excursion to Morocco, students study the interaction between Islam, gender relations, and sexuality in a predominantly Muslim country. The excursion and the lectures will allow students to draw a comparative understanding of how conceptions of gender and sexuality are constructed across cultures and societies. This course particularly prepares students for their two-week excursion to Morocco.


Dutch – syllabus
(DUTC1003 / 3 credits)

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

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

This seminar introduces students to the conceptual and practical tools essential to forming constructive relationships with organizations and/or individuals from other cultures, particularly those required for completing an academic project in the cultural context of the Netherlands. The course enhances students’ skills at building a network; initiating purposeful dialogue in the cultural context of the Netherlands; gathering, recording, and analyzing primary data; and writing an academic report. The course pays particular attention to the ethics of working, researching, and living as a cultural guest. The class situates these ethical issues specifically as they apply within the cultural context of the Netherlands and the program’s critical global issue: identity and human resilience. The course prepares students for their independent study project, and also gives students the intellectual tools to move about the world, learning and growing in an ethical manner.

Independent Study Project or Internship

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)

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.

Previous internships have involved:

  • Preparing exhibitions and doing research at the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center
  • Providing support work at Fite Qlub, a multidisciplinary platform operating from a queer, intersectional and decolonial perspective
  • Helping break the stigma at Dikke Vinger, a radical social activist foundation for and by fat people working towards a society in which fat people can live equal lives
  • Contributing to equality with regards to access to water and sanitation for women and girls worldwide at Simavi
  • Researching and writing Wikipedia entries about female role models, artists, and scientists and about feminist organizations or gender equality at Atria Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History
  • Supporting journalistic and educational projects at Stitching Inclusief
  • Creating content and providing social media support for TRANS Magazine (physical and digital), a publication by and about trans* people
  • Helping out at one of Amsterdam’s feminist and queer festivals
  • Coordinating events at We Are Queer, a gym and coaching platform especially for people who identify as LGBTQIA+


Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

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 this program does not permit research that requires the active input of sex workers.

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

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.



After a brief orientation, you will live with a local family in the greater Amsterdam area for the whole of the program. Commute times may vary, taking up to 45 minutes. Your homestay host can help you understand and navigate life in this thriving city of canals. You will stay with Amsterdammers who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and include single parents, young professionals, retirees and some LGBTQ+ hosts. The homestay experience is often described as one of the program’s highlights, and one of the most rewarding experiences of the semester. All hosts offer unique insights into sexuality and gender from a Dutch perspective.  

Your host will help you navigate the city, culture, and language. Think of them as your insider’s guide and private Dutch tutor who will help you integrate into your new host country. They can introduce you to the best of their neighborhoods – outdoor markets, the perfect café, a local shop – and advise you on the small towns and big cities you ought to visit while you are in the country.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

Hostels and modest hotels

Career Paths

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

Faculty & Staff

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

Jonathan Key, MA bio link
Jonathan Key, MA
Academic Director
Emma Argüelles bio link
Emma Argüelles
Homestay Coordinator
Fiona Kirk, MS bio link
Fiona Kirk, MS
Internship and Program Coordinator
Ahmed AbdulMageed bio link
Ahmed AbdulMageed
Office Coordinator
Ebony Westman, MA bio link
Ebony Westman, MA
Program Coordinator

Discover the Possibilities

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