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MSASS Netherlands: Gender and Sexuality Justice - LGBT Life in Contemporary Dutch Culture (SASS 375/575)
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, Visa fees
Program Purpose: Study
Program Description:
Amsterdam canal
Netherlands: Amsterdam
Gender and Sexuality Justice: LGBT life in Contemporary Dutch Culture

SASS 375/575
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, or take as
  • 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 Elisabeth Roccoforte.
This experiential and hands-on course explores the Dutch concept of "tolerance" through the lenses of sexuality, gender identity and gender expression. The course will investigate the Dutch concept of  'tolerance” as it applies to LGBT people, by interrogating the ways in which the social discourse of acceptance is complicated by other salient sociopolitical factors such as historical and contemporary realities about immigration, religious diversity, age, ethnicity and race.

Students will have opportunities to meet with academics, activists, social workers and LGBT community volunteers who work with a wide variety of the community. Special attention will be paid to best practices in caring for LGBT elders, ethnic minority LGBT youth, as well as transgender individuals within the sex work community.

This course seeks to teach students the value of cross-cultural dialogue, especially within the context of the challenges and triumphs of LGBT people. Ultimately, students will be exposed to the complexities embedded within the experience of being LGBT in the Netherlands and compare it to the ways it is both similar and dissimilar to the experience of U.S. LGBT communities.

Sunday evening usually includes a tour of the Red Light District. The Gender & Sexuality Justice section may have the opportunity to tour the District with a local scholar who is knowledgeable of the district’s history as well as its contemporary reality. This tour will be focused on providing information and context of the Red Light District through the lens of queer theory, gender studies and feminism.

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). Students are encouraged to analyze the lectures through a gender and sexuality lens.

On Tuesday morning, we will visit the most famous parts of LGBT Amsterdam including, the Homomonument which opened in 1987 and is the only gay monument in the world. We will also visit Pink Point a gay and lesbian information and souvenir shop situated at the Homomonument, Westermarkt (on the Keizersgracht). Volunteers will be available to answer student’s questions about LGBT Amsterdam. On Tuesday afternoon, we usually travel to the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam,, the largest tertiary care hospital in the country. There are course will meet with globally renowned and controversial researcher and academic Dr. Dick Swaab and listen to a special lecture about his theories about transexualism, gay men and the brain.

On Wednesday we typically have travelled to Rotterdam. In Rotterdam we will visit Humanitas, and take time to converse both with the LGBT elders who live in the facility as well as the coordinators of the acclaimed programs developed for the care of LGBT elders.

Thursday we will likely visit a variety of locations in Amsterdam. Some possibilities include:
IHLIA, an international gay/lesbian library, archive, information and documentation center about homosexuality and sexual diversity.
Volunteers with COC Netherlands, the country’s largest LGBT advocacy group
Members of the Transgender Network of Amsterdam
Possible lectures and discussions with faculty members from the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS) at the University of Amsterdam
Meetings with members of Workplace Pride,  a non-pro?t umbrella foundation based in Amsterdam that strives for greater acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in the workplace and in society.

Friday 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, 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. English is spoken everywhere, 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.

Expectations: 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 that 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.