Netherlands

International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

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

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study

Dutch

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Feb 3 ‎– May 15

Program Countries

Netherlands

Program Excursion Countries

Morocco

Program Base

Amsterdam

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Overview

Why study gender in the Netherlands?

Famous for its Red Light District, water canals, and bicycle culture, 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 Rotterdam, talk with sex educators, a BDSM advocacy group, and Hang-Out 010, a safe space for youth. Get a Muslim perspective on gender and sexuality during a two-week excursion to Morocco.

Highlights

  • Learn from experts in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam.
  • 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, Tangier, Essaouira, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Safi.

Prerequisites

Previous college-level coursework or other preparation in sexuality and/or gender studies, as assessed by SIT.

Excursions

Rotterdam

If Amsterdam is New York, Rotterdam is Los Angeles. New, smooth, and flashy, Rotterdam is a cool, modern location for the study of gender and sexuality. You’ll visit queer activists, explore the city’s premier architecture, and see some exceptional art. Depending on the calendar, you might be able to march in Rotterdam Pride, attend a panel on gender visibility, or join a workshop with one of our partners.

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. Here you will attend sessions on topics like sexuality and disability, sex education, or polyamory. There will be time for a visit to Savannah Bay, one of the oldest feminist/Lesbian bookstores as well as the kink/fetish shop Laced-Up.

Morocco

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. During the two-week excursion in Morocco, we’ll stay 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 in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

Students attend two thematic seminars: Theory and Application of Feminist, Lesbigay, and Queer Studies, and Migration, Gender, and Sexuality. Each seminar is led by a professor who provides a strong theoretical basis for the course, and also includes presentations, workshops, and guided site visits from local researchers, practitioners, and activists. This combination of the theoretical with on-the-ground practice provides a broad range of perspectives on sexuality and gender in Dutch and international contexts.

The semester concludes with a month-long individual, in-depth exploration of a topic of particular interest to the student. Some students produce a traditional essay or a creative project, and others perform an intensive internship at a Dutch organization. Recent students have evaluated anti-sex work organizations, produced a photo essay, written a zine, published a podcast, wrote a year’s worth of tweets for a global sex education NGO, and worked with the director of an Amsterdam museum to write a draft of an article on a manuscript in the museum’s collection. Many students find their ISP to be one of the most rewarding experiences of their entire college career.

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

Theory and Application of Feminist, Lesbigay, and Queer Studies

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

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

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

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.

Course Options

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Internship and Seminar
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.

Sample internships:

  • Preparing exhibitions and doing research at the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Center
  • Providing support work at PROUD (Dutch Union for Sex Workers)
  • Assisting men’s emancipation in Amsterdam at grassroots organization Emancipator
  • Promoting sexual education for all at international platform Love Matters
  • 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
  • Helping out at Bijlmerpark Theater, a theater and cultural center working with and for communities in Amsterdam Zuidoost
  • Working at de Vrankrijk, a queer squat in Amsterdam
  • Helping out in one of Amsterdam’s feminist and queer festivals
  • Supporting the empowerment and visibility of queer Muslims at Maruf, a platform for queer Muslims in the Netherlands and beyond

OR

Independent Study Project
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.

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.

Homestays

Amsterdam

You’ll live with a local family in Amsterdam for 12 weeks and experience what it’s like to immerse yourself in the city of canals. Hosts are of different ethnic backgrounds and include LGBT households, single parents, and traditional families. The homestay experience is often described as one of the most rewarding highlights of the program. All families offer unique insights into sexuality and gender from a Dutch and multicultural perspective.

Plus, your host family can help you navigate the city, culture and language, teaching you colloquial words and phrases that will help you integrate into your new country. Think of your hosts as your insider’s guide who can introduce you to off the beaten path favorites such as outdoor markets and short trips to nearby getaways like Leiden and Haarlem.

Other 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

Jana Byars, PhD
Academic Director
Bastiaan Franse
Homestay Coordinator
Sabine Bastiaans, MS
Program Coordinator
Sara Bolghiran, PhD Candidate
Program Coordinator
Selma el Boundati, MS
Internship Coordinator
Eduard Verbree
Language Instructor
Susanna Khouw
Program Assistant
Tobias Dörfler
Financial Assistant
Catherine Schook, MS
Student Support Officer

Discover the Possibilities

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