Skip to Content
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
MSASS Netherlands: Social Justice: Health and Violence Prevention (Graduate Course - SASS 575)
Amsterdam, Netherlands; Rotterdam, Netherlands
Program Terms: Spring Break
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
 Program Type:
CWRU Short-Term Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Housing Options: Hotel
Minimum GPA: 2.0 Credit Type: Graduate, Non-Credit, Professional
Number of Credits: 3 Program Advisor: Debby Jacobson, MSASS
Courses Offered: Applied Social Sciences Case Credit Type: Global and Diversity Credit, Social Work Minor
Deposit: $200
 Total Program Cost:
Included in Program Cost: breakfasts, Housing, In-country transportation Not Included in Program Costs: Dinner, Flights, Housing, Lunch, Passport Fees, Tuition, Visa fees
Program Purpose: Study
Program Description:

Netherlands Amsterdam

Social Justice: Health and Violence Prevention

Graduate Section: SASS 575

In-Country Dates: March 9-16, 2014

Pre and post trip seminars:  Saturday February 1, 22 & April 19, 2014

This experiential and hands-on course is designed to familiarize students with Dutch culture, social policies and practices for  prostitution, drug use, substance abuse, mental health, neighborhood social control, violence prevention, homelessness; multicultural aspects of health care, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The trip includes guided tours of neighborhoods and social institutions such as hospitals, clinics, user rooms and prisons.  Presentations are given by government officials, practicing social workers, health care providers and many of Holland's most prominent scholars. The experience will challenge students to compare Holland with the United States and help students understand the strengths and weaknesses of social policies and human services in both countries. 



1) SASS 575  Social Justice: Health & Violence Prevention
Dr. Mark Singer

2) SASS 325  Social Justice: Health & Violence Prevention

(UNDERGRADUATE SECTION) Dean Gilmore, Sarah Parran


3) SASS 575/350   Integrated Mental Health & Substance Use


Mr Patrick Boyle

4.  SASS 575/350 Gender and Sexuality Justice - LGBT Life in Contemporary Dutch Culture


Elisabeth Roccoforte (


3 - Credit Courses Offer Global and Cultural Diversity Credit

Financial Aid May Be Used For Travel Costs

ContactNancy Issa  for Financial Aid eligibility details and procedure
Note that a $200 deposit is due at the time of application.  This deposit should be turned in to the Office of Education Abroad.  Instructions for payment can be found within the application.

Take an educational holiday overseas during Winter Break or Spring Break. Engage in cross-cultural studies of social policies and practices for health and human services. Several three-credit-travel courses are available for all students from all majors and programs as well as working professionals in health and human services. Groups are traveling to Ecuador, The Netherlands, Guatemala, Poland, and Switzerland.

Each trip is led and taught by experienced faculty from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Faculty fly and stay at same accommodations with students. Travel options are designed around a course syllabus that promote interaction with international policymakers and direct-service providers.

Contact:  Debby Jacobson for more information
or visit 
travel courses(

Students -  to register for course on SIS:  Grads: SASS 575 and Undergrads: SASS 325/350 


The week will take us to a range of agencies, treatment settings and provide interaction with Dutch scholars, clinicians, managers, and people receiving services. Lots of walking is to be anticipated, interspersed with coffee (the real thing!), biscuits, cheese, chocolate, and typical Dutch hospitality. You will make many new friends and learn a great deal about similarities and differences between how Americans and the Dutch view health care, euthanasia, criminal justice, mental health and substance use disorders, use of soft vs hard drugs, homelessness, prostitution, and abused youth. 

On Monday four lectures from Dutch experts at Vrije Universiteit (Free University), in Amsterdam will include Dutch tolerance, euthanasia, substance use and abuse, and sex work (prostitution).

Tuesday has often been the day for a visit to a famous coffee shop, Dampkring, (  where the manager of the shop will talk about how the Dutch have created laws to allow the use of soft drugs in coffee shops consistent with their philosophy of "harm reduction". Although the coffee shop will not be open for business while we are there, you will learn about the history of the harm reduction approach to soft drugs, see the drugs they have for sale and hear about how some of their attitudes are now evolving away from such tolerance. 

On Tuesday afternoon we usually travel to the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam,,  the largest tertiary care hospital in the country, and meet with the medical director of the hospital for an always fascinating discussion about how differently they manage their health care system than we do in the U.S. He will talk about ethical dilemmas that arise when certain patient groups come for treatment, such as illegal immigrants and criminals and how the Dutch clinicians resolve those dilemmas. Our conversation with him is always fascinating and many past students have commented about how much they learned from him during our afternoon at this 2000-bed hospital and medical school.

On Wednesday we typically have travelled to Rotterdam and spend our morning meeting with staff members and clients at S Gravenhof,, a halfway house for hard drugs users. We learn about the Dutch housing system and how they allow drug addicts to live in a halfway house while they try to give them the skills to work and live more independently in the future. Clients will share their stories of life on the streets and their drug use histories, while describing how this unique housing option has helped them.

On Wednesday afternoon we visit Horizon,,  a residential treatment center for severely physically and emotionally abused children, ages 8-12. Several staff members present information about their program for treating these young children and then we have an opportunity to meet with several of the children in one of their residential cottages with staff who describe their day to day treatment regimens. Many of the students who come to the Netherlands describe this agency as the most fascinating visit of the trip.

Thursday  often takes us to Blacka Watra, a drop-in center where people can find access to a number of services including showers, employment, social services, food, laundry and a "User Room", i.e., a safe place to use drugs: Though the schedule is still in the planning stage, an afternoon visit to Altrecht, an inpatient psychiatric hospital for forensic patients, has exposed us to how the Dutch treat people convicted of crimes and also have mental health disorders: There is also often an alternative option to take the afternoon time to visit the main courthouse in Amsterdam and meet with Dutch prosecutors, who detail the structure of the Dutch criminal justice system and then we attend a trial to see how their prosecutors and judges work. They do not use juries; rather one judge (or three judges for more serious offenses) decides the fate of their defendants. 

Friday morning takes us to a lecture by COSA Netherlands,,  a community reintegration program for sexual offenders. Their network of volunteers befriend the client and help him to feel more socially connected to his community while also being on alert for signs of potential problems to decrease the incidence of re-offending.  The afternoon is usually reserved for the "Great Debate" where you have an opportunity to make persuasive arguments for or against various Dutch practices or social policies as they apply here at home (or "not").

Travel Considerations: The Netherlands can be cold and rainy (sometimes snowy) with the day time temperature often in the 40-50 degree range. We do a lot of walking, often several miles per day and take public transportation (tram access will be provided for the course) so wear comfortable shoes and consider layered clothing. It can feel colder than the actual temperature since it is below sea level and windy. They didn't invent windmills for nothing! The streets of Amsterdam are crowded with people and bicycles. Though the hotel may not be of the same standard with which you are accustomed, it is quite nice. The trip over will be tiring because of jet lag and during the week because of evening activities on your personal time. English is spoken everywhere, the water is okay to drink everywhere (though often you must pay for it in a restaurant), and it often costs to use public restrooms. The course begins with a brief orientation and reception on late Saturday afternoon and your Saturday evening will be open to see the city! Sunday is also an open day but in the evening there is a walking tour of the Red Light District with Dutch and Case faculty. You will also have unstructured free time on the second Saturday in the Netherlands. 

Hotel: All students and faculty will be staying at Leidse Square Hotel Amsterdam. The website is: located on a quiet side street off Leidseplein, near museums, the City Theatre, Casino, cinemas, and with countless restaurants, bars and disco's close by. The historical city centre with its canals, the Leidsestraat with numerous shops and famous museums are all within walking distance, as is the Vondelpark. The hotel has a wake-up call service, a safe in most rooms, bathroom, phone, TV, radio, soap, shampoo, hair dryer & shower cap with a full breakfast starting at 7:00 a.m. every day. It does not provide a wash cloth or lotion, exercise facilities or pool. WIFI is available for free and a computer is available in the lobby.

Expectations: Smoking is not allowed in the hotel rooms.  You may not bring prohibited items back to the United States.  All students are expected to follow the laws of the United States while in the Netherlands. Your behavior in the Netherlands should conform to behavior appropriate for students in the U.S. Most importantly, you are to behave as representatives of Case Western Reserve University while guests in the Netherlands. 

Amsterdam is a large, old cosmopolitan city which has an unending supply of historical sites, world famous museums, Renaissance architecture and appealing nightlife. The course content is fascinating and our students have a wonderful time exploring all that the city has to offer during the site visits and their free time. We hope you will join our experienced faculty during your spring break to see this magnificent city and learn about the Dutch culture and liberal social policies.

This program is currently not accepting applications.