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To prepare as a potential or future student for studying in the Netherlands, these are some of the things you need to know:
Before you arrive
Students from countries within the European Union, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States do not need to obtain a visa to enter the Netherlands. They also do not need a temporary residence permit (called "machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf" or “MVV”). They must, however, register with the aliens department of the local police station after arriving.
Students who are not nationals of one of the countries listed above must apply to the Dutch government for a "MVV" in order to enter the country. The application requires a valid national passport, a letter of acceptance into Tyndale Seminary, and proof of the ability to pay for living expenses, medical insurance and return passage to the country of origin. Once a student has been admitted to a program of study at Tyndale Seminary and has demonstrated that he/she has the funds necessary to attend, Tyndale Seminary will begin the process of securing a visa for that student. The Dean of Students will assist you in your preparations for coming to the Netherlands with visa matters and adjustments to life as an international student once you are here.
Foreign nationals may not remain in the country as students unless they are pursuing a course of study. Tyndale must notify the government should a foreign national studying at the seminary cease to pursue a course of study. Unless the student can procure a visa on another basis, his or her privilege of residence in the Netherlands will be jeopardized. A student should make every effort before entering the Netherlands to insure his or her ability to remain a full-time student for the entire course of the program.
Arrival in the Netherlands
We would be glad to pick you up at the airport, train or bus station when you first arrive in the Netherlands as a student. Please let us know in advance when you are coming and give us all your travel details so that we can arrange transportation. This information should be communicated by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please make sure you receive confirmation from us that we have received this information.
Most Dutch nationals speak English (particularly those living near Amsterdam). Tyndale does not offer any lessons for learning Dutch.
The following important distinctives of Tyndale Seminary will help you with expectations and perspective as you join our community as a student.
European Environment and Atmosphere
Tyndale Seminary's location in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam, is strategic. Amsterdam is the fourth most visited European city by tourists. The unique history of the Netherlands with its Roman Catholic era and Protestant Reformation background gives it a prominent place in church history. Its history is connected to Spain, France, England, Germany and the United States. In addition, many of the great explorations of the rest of the world including South America, Africa and Asia started from here. Its history, art, literature, music, and people give it a European and international atmosphere.
Not only is Amsterdam a collage of cultures from around the world, but Tyndale Seminary is as well. Since its inception in the fall of 1985, students from more than eighty different countries have attended. Tyndale's mission is to reach beyond Europe to the rest of the world by providing qualified pastors, teachers, missionaries and church planters. This diversity creates an exciting and interesting classroom and living environment. Relationships formed in this unique setting help you develop love and understanding.
Every resident faculty member and some students, are totally supported by family, friends, and concerned donor churches. Tyndale Seminary is committed to trusting the Lord for full financial support. The prayers and support of the Body of Christ sustain us on a daily basis and motivate us to a vision of growth. We trust God. Tyndale Seminary’s history testifies to His faithfulness in meeting our needs in every way.
The Tyndale community, with God's help, is acting together to meet the needs of its members as we all work to do the "good works God prepared beforehand for us to do," and as we work to be better equipped to continue in those good works in the future. If you come to Tyndale Seminary, with God's help, you will become a part of that receiving and giving community.
Seminary Housing Many of our students live on campus. Our dormitory can provide housing for up to 42 students. Students share rooms, two students per room. There is also limited married student housing.
Students who are accompanied by family members who are not students have found housing in and around the seminary campus. While Tyndale does not provide housing for families, we can help you with this task.
Tyndale Seminary has its own cafeteria and student center. Meals are available as part of the room and board package for residential students. Non-residential students may also sign up to eat in the cafeteria for a reasonable cost.
The LibraryThe A. Verner and H. Elizabeth Nelson Library serves the Tyndale community and others in the area. It is centrally located in our building and offers an attractive place for its patrons to read and study. The library’s collection includes over 20,000 books and materials. The library subscribes to over 40 theological journals in hard copy, and through ATLASerials students and faculty have access to 150 theological and religious journals on line.
Life in the residential community
All students help with the duties and chores needed to keep Tyndale operational. Serving one-another as we study and learn is part of our holistic approach to training for Christian ministry.
"Tyndale Together" Ministry
During your first few weeks at Tyndale we will seek to put you together with a returning student to help you in your adjustments. This is a volunteer ministry of students eager to help you in any way they can.
Students have formed an association for ministry opportunities, communication with faculty and staff, and organization of other activities both on and off campus. A small "Student Association Fee" is charged to each student to help support the social and hospitality activities of the association. The Seminary also contributes support to this association in many ways: through financial involvement, provision of resources, transportation and faculty and staff participation.
A year at Tyndale will be about 60 ECTS. This translates to about 40 hours of work a week for an average student. Of course for many of our students, English is their second language and they will need to add some extra time to complete their course work, especially during the first year. Also, the load is not always evenly spread across the semester, so some weeks will be busier than others. For those living on campus, Tyndale provides meals so you will not have to cook, except for Sundays when students take turns cooking.
As in every family, however, we ask the students to contribute to the community life at Tyndale by helping out with chores around the campus to keep the costs down and maintain a clean and orderly environment. Typically we ask 4-6 hours a week. Some chores you can do on your own schedule, others have to be done at specific times.
We also highly recommend that the student gets involved in a local church. There are many (international) churches available. It is good to put your academic studies into practice in ministry. Many students also try to find a job on the side. Students are allowed to work up to 10 hours a week on their student visa. Student employment should not negatively affect their studies.
Each student will be assisted by a faculty member in adjusting to studies, class time, course-work, and developing a schedule for study at Tyndale, as well as for spiritual counsel and other assistance as needed. The faculty member and his advisees will meet together from time to time for prayer and sharing, as well as individually at other times for formal or informal interaction.
Counseling and Friendship
From the beginning of your studies at Tyndale ,faculty, staff, and other students will be open and available for answering questions, caring and giving guidance.
Student Mentoring Program
Students in all programs participate in the Tyndale Mentoring program. This allows special times for one-on-one interaction with others experienced in ministry, but especially affords an opportunity to discuss personal and spiritual matters.
Every semester that you are at Tyndale you will be involved in a Spiritual Formation course. The course is devoted to the personal development of the student, especially in relation to spiritual growth and maturity, along with character development. It especially focuses on the student's love for God and neighbor, resulting in greater obedience to Jesus Christ in word and deed. You will be assigned a mentor to help you in this journey. Your mentor will be either a faculty or staff member who you will meet with in a small group and also individually. There will be projects assigned to help facilitate personal growth.
One challenge every seminary student encounters is to find balance in their seminary studies and devotional life. It is your nature, heart, and your commitment to walk with Him in love and obedience that is most important. When you are abiding in the Spirit, He will focus you on Christ and His Word, and make you fruitful in every good work.
Your personal time with God needs to be a priority as you balance it with pursuing your academic studies. Good study and devotional habits established during seminary will carry over into the rest of your life and ministry. Do not sacrifice your personal walk with Christ for academics, grades, or anything else in your seminary life.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 - 11:30 a.m., Tyndale faculty, staff, and students meet for a chapel time. It is expected that all faculty and students who are on campus will attend. The library will be closed during this time.
The purposes for Chapel are to 1) provide time for worship and praise, 2) give opportunity for student expression, 3) provide instruction through God's Word concerning the Christian life, 4) expand student's knowledge of other ministries, 5) serve as a model of appropriate ministry skills and attitudes, and 6) challenge and inspire toward biblical living in the seminary.
The seminary Chaplain supervises and leads the chapel ministry and often assigns others to carry out many of the responsibilities. Much effort is given to carefully planning speakers, participants, music and other aspects.
There are regularly scheduled prayer times for students, staff, and faculty each week. There is usually a faculty/staff prayer time every Monday from 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. At the same time, there is a student prayer meeting held in one of the classrooms.
Your Personal Ministry
Often the best remedy for tiredness or being “puffed up” with knowledge is to serve someone else in truth and love. We encourage every student to find a church in which to serve. Perhaps you are a preacher at your church back home, but it might not be possible for you to serve as a preacher at a local church here. See this as an opportunity to experience serving at the church just as any other church member would. You will experience the joy and frustrations of serving behind the scenes, which could give you very valuable insights for when you return to lead your church back home.
Involvement in ministry will also broaden your world. You will meet new people and be exposed to new cultures, all of which is enriching. There are some well-established evangelical churches in the area, plus a few church plants. Several parachurch groups are also involved in such activities as evangelism to sailors, drug-rehabilitation, evangelism among youth who travel, and in ministries to other people in Amsterdam. Many of these groups are evangelical and have earned respect among the religious and non-religious alike for their successful work.
A list of English Language and Dutch Language Churches offering translation of services is available at http://www.andrewspink.nl/churches/churches.htm.