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.
Hear the experiences of the growing number of postcolonial and post-migration people living in the Netherlands. You’ll look at theories and applications of gender, LGBT+, and sexuality studies in activism and consider how identity is affected by gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class, both as experienced and as perceived. To do this, you will visit different NGOs and organizations that advocate for gender, LGBT+, and sexual rights and spend two weeks in Morocco to get another international perspective on these themes.
You’ll also learn about LGBT+ and queer activism in the Netherlands, sex and gender education, and sex work and sex workers’ rights in the Netherlands. You’ll reflect on the paradoxes surrounding homosexuality and nationalism, and you’ll explore 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.
Choose to do independent field research or an internship.
The internship will allow you to gain work experience and acquire professional and intercultural skills at a Dutch organization. The independent research option lets you delve into an issue related to the program’s themes.
Learn from experts in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam.
Meet with our broad network of experts that includes many of the key figures in the field of gender and sexuality. Learn from professionals, researchers, and activists and get actively involved in the work they’re doing. Hear from experts at the IHLIA LGBT heritage archives in Amsterdam, from the BDSM advocacy group in Utrecht, and Hang Out 010 in Rotterdam. Visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District to learn about sex work and the (legal) position of sex workers.
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. When possible, you’ll attend lectures and events at the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (University of Amsterdam). Scholars from this center occasionally lecture for SIT and are sometimes advisors for the Independent Study Projects.
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
- Sexual politics in a multicultural society
- Homonationalism in the Netherlands
- Sex and gender education: policies and methods in the Netherlands
- Feminist and sex-positive activism in the Netherlands
- Gender roles and women’s movements in Morocco
- Trans* issues, human rights, and health
- Gendered and racialized aspects of labor migration in a global and neo-liberal context
- How identity is affected by gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class, both as experienced and as perceived
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 Hang-Out 010 in Rotterdam, a safe space for bi-racial LGBTQ youth. The community center offers workshops and discussions on sexuality, gender, and ethnicity to young people. They participate in local events like the Rotterdam Pride Walk and Gender Visibility Month.
We offer sessions in Utrecht on sexuality and disability and on non-monogamy. There is also enough time to visit one of the oldest feminist bookstores, Savannah Bay, and the kink/fetish shop Laced-Up.
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 ATRIA and IHLIA, international archives for the women’s movement and for the LGBTQ community.
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 to explore the diversity of Morocco and reflect on your perception of the Orient. You will visit Rabat, Morocco’s capital; 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
Jana Byars, PhD, Academic Director
Jana holds a PhD in history from Penn State University. She also attended Western Michigan University and Hope College. She is the author of Informal Marriages in Early Modern Venice (Routledge, 2018), the editor of Monsters and Borders in the Early Modern Imagination (Routledge, 2018), and the translator of Girolamo Benzoni’s 1565 travel narrative History of the New World (Penn State Press, 2017). She has also written several reviews and articles about sexuality and gender in Europe. She comes to SIT after twenty years in American higher education, teaching at Iowa State, Whitman College, Marquette, Penn State, and Western Michigan. Her current research centers on sex work, rape, and questions of consent in a modern European and American context. Jana is a native Michigander happily living in Amsterdam. She loves yoga, is learning to cycle fearlessly, and cherishes every moment she can spend with Alice, the world's sweetest basset hound.
Suzanne Lugthart, MA, Program Assistant
Suzanne holds a BS in anthropology and an MA in Middle Eastern studies. While working on her minor in social studies of Morocco in Rabat, Suzanne developed her interests in gender, Islam, sexuality, and the wider Arab region, which has led her to work and study repeatedly in North Africa. Before graduating, she returned to Morocco to do an internship with an organization fighting HIV and to do fieldwork for her bachelor’s thesis. For her master’s degree, Suzanne did fieldwork in Lebanon, which became an MA thesis on the intersectionality of religion, family, love, and sexuality among Shia students. She ended her studies with an internship in Tunisia. Suzanne grew up in a small village near Alkmaar and has recently relocated to Amsterdam. She is our resident expert in Moroccan Arabic, speaks French fluently, and loves to salsa dance.
Raisa Hehenkamp, MS, Internship Coordinator
Raisa studied political science at the University of Amsterdam and holds an MS in equality and human rights. During her studies, she became increasingly interested in structural inequalities within society, both academically and by doing volunteer work. Noticing the broad academic literature on queer theory but a lack of examination on queer people and their lives and experiences, she devoted her master’s thesis to the topic of queer people. She enjoyed times abroad, first during high school in the US, then during a ten-day exchange program in Iran and finally during her master’s in the UK. As the internship coordinator, Raisa supports students in finding a host organization and successfully completing their internship. Students who are not doing an internship but want to make a connection to organizations or research participants will also be supported by Raisa.
Catherine Schook, MS, Student Support Officer
Catherine holds a master’s degree in medical research with a focus on gender-based medicine and a bachelor’s in community health education from Portland State University. Originally from Portland, Oregon, where she worked as a sexual assault counselor and advocate for sex workers, Catherine has been living in the Netherlands for nearly ten years. She has held positions as an English editor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several nonprofit organizations. She found her ideal work setting as an HIV counselor speaking about sexuality, sexual health, and relationships of all kinds. Catherine is currently completing a second master’s degree in counseling psychology at Webster University with the intention of opening a sex-positive therapy practice. She has three bikes and wears too much vintage clothing.
Sabine Bastiaans, MS, Program Coordinator
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.
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.
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 in a neo-liberal context for SIT.
Sudeep Dasgupta, PhD
Sudeep is associate professor in media studies at the University of Amsterdam and researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. In his work he investigates the intersections of postcolonialism, gender, and sexuality. His most recent publication is What's Queer about Europe? Productive Encounters and Re-enchanting Paradigms (2017). Sudeep lectures for SIT on gender/feminist theory, LGBT/queer theory, sexuality, and postcolonialism.
Dino is the founder of Maruf, an organization that connects, supports, and strengthens queer Muslims and their allies by giving them a voice, visibility, and the power to create more social acceptance in their communities. Dino lecture’s on queer Muslims in the Netherlands and Europe.
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.
- 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
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: $6,170
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:
Airfare to Program Site
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: $100
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
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.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.