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MSASS Netherlands: Integrated Mental Health and Substance Abuse (SASS 375B/575)
Amsterdam, Netherlands; Rotterdam, Netherlands (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Break
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: CWRU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Break 2016 12/01/2015 ** Rolling Admission 03/06/2016 03/14/2016
NOTE: All applications submitted after December 1 will be assessed a $100 processing fee.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type:
CWRU Short-Term Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Housing Options: Hotel
Minimum GPA: 2.0 Credit Type: Graduate, Professional, Undergraduate
Number of Credits: 3 Program Advisor: Office of Education Abroad (Email
Courses Offered: Applied Social Sciences Case Credit Type: Engineering Social Sciences Credit, Global and Diversity Credit, Social Work Minor
Deposit: $200
Total Program Cost:
Included in Program Cost: Admission fees, breakfasts, Housing, In-country transportation Not Included in Program Costs: Dinner, Flights, Lunch, Passport Fees, Tuition, Vaccinations, Visa fees
Program Purpose: Study
Program Description:



Mental Health Issues and Practice

In-Country Dates: March 6-14, 2016

Pre and post trip seminars: January 23, February 20 & April 16 (Saturdays)

Approved for:

  • Global and Cultural Diversity Credit
  • Social Science credit for engineering students
  • Social Work Minor
  • Elective course

Visit MSASS 3 credit study abroad courses and contact Dr. Mark Chupp (

Contact Nancy Issa for Financial Aid Eligibility for travel costs.

Course description:
This course is taught by Patrick Boyle.
The course will take students to a range of treatment settings and provide interaction with Dutch clinicians, managers and people receiving services. Students learn a great deal about similarities and differences between how Americans and the Dutch view mental health and substance use disorders, and, more importantly, how we treat the people we serve. Included are visits to treatment clinics, residential treatment centers, user rooms, prisons as well as universities.  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.


The week will take us to a range of treatment settings and provide interaction with Dutch clinicians, managers, people receiving services, and of course, among ourselves!  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 mental health and substance use disorders, and, more importantly, how we treat the people we serve.
A typical schedule for the week, based on past years:
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 "Mentrum/Arkin" Meet the Expert symposium (Patrick Boyle). This is Amsterdam's primary integrated (mental health and substance use) care organization, the result of three organizational mergers, a process that has also begun in America. Their website is: ( Arkin serves 25,000 clients annually with 3,100 professionals in 43 locations. It has a larger website within which you will find the two recently merged organizations at:|en&tbb=1&ie=utf-8
We will likely meet with about 30 people invited to the symposium who represent Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT) sites. Topics have varied from year to year. Last year, we demonstrated the principles of the IDDT model by interviewing one of their clients and her case manager using Motivational Interviewing strategies. This year, we hope to interview the same client again to learn how she has navigated her multiple disorders (depression, cocaine addiction, HIV Aids) and how the team has supported her recovery.  The visit included a tour of one of their residential facilities. In the afternoon we visited a treatment program for children/adolescents and heard from their program manager about clinical approaches being used with that client population.
On Wednesday we typically have traveled to Rotterdam and visited with Erasmus University researchers Dr. Niels Mulder and Andre Wiersma. We then have toured a residential program, namely Mackay, for homeless people with drug problems. You can visit their website ( and as also translated into English:|en&tbb=1&ie=utf-8
Erasmus researchers have provided us with data from progressive research projects. Last year we heard two such presentations, one looking at cultural differences for people being involuntarily hospitalized and another on assertive outreach with people having serious mental illness.  Here is their Dutch website to introduce you to some of their work ( and as translated into English:|en&tbb=1&ie=utf-8.
On Thursday The Dampkring coffee shop is visited ( where you will converse with a local expert about the history of coffee shops in Amsterdam as well as see the products they sell. An obvious cultural difference from America, the Dutch allow the use of marijuana in a "coffee shop" setting and permit small amounts of the product to be sold as well. There is a possibility of a site visit to Altrecht, an inpatient psychiatric hospital for forensic patients, has exposed us to how the Dutch treat people convicted of crimes and that have mental health disorders:
Friday 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: 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 daytime temperature often in the 40-50 degree range. We do a lot of walking 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. 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 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 is a walking tour with Dutch and Case faculty of the Red Light District. You will also have some unstructured free time on the weekend after the course. 
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 center with its canals, the Leidsestraat with numerous shops and famous museums are all within walking distance, as is the Vondelpark. 
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.