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  • Locations: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal
  • Program Terms: Winter Session
  • Restrictions: Babson applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
[Explore how and why the Dutch and Portuguese established their drug and sex policies, as well as the social, economic and possible future impact for their respective policy approaches.]

From Prohibition to Tolerance: Drugs, Sex and Harm Reduction in the Netherlands and Portugal

UG Netherlands Elective Abroad

James Bradford, Adjunct Lecturer,
History & Society

Summer Session 2021

Netherlands and Portugal

Important Dates

Information Session

Information Session Dates



Application Deadlines

Application Opens


Initial Application Deadline


Rolling Application Opens


Rolling Application Deadline


Mandatory Course Dates

No partial participation is allowed.
Admitted students must participate in ALL program activities.



Pre-Departure Class #1 (Updated)

Pre-Departure Class #2


Course Travel: TBD
Class Dates: TBD


Deliverables due TBD

Academic Overview

Course Description

In the last three decades, the Netherlands has become famous for its tolerant attitudes towards drug use and other forms of vice. Yet the global popularity of Amsterdam’s “coffeeshops” and red light district underscore a more rational policy approach on the part of the Dutch government; rather than criminalize non-violent drug use or prostitution, the Dutch have sought to mitigate the more pernicious side-effects associated with their use, and trade. Driven by social and health concerns rather than crime, the success of the ‘harm reduction’ model to reduce more dangerous forms of drug use, or violence and sexual diseases associated with clandestine forms of the illicit sex trade, has prompted other countries to follow suit. This course will explore Dutch drug and sex policies, its impact on the social and economic fabric of the country, and how its relative success versus more prohibitive policies has encouraged other countries to follow suit, especially Portugal.

 Key questions to consider: Why did the Netherlands employ a policy of tolerance? How did issues with more dangerous drugs, such as heroin, shape its more tolerant policy toward cannabis? In a similar vein, what prompted the Dutch government to reorient its approach to prostitution?  How did the changes to sex work stem from concerns over human trafficking? In what ways have these policies succeeded, and how have they failed? What are the broader impacts of this policy? In Portugal, the decriminalization of drugs in 2001 has been viewed as a resounding success: why did they do it? What, in particular, has worked about this program? And what has not?

Faculty Video

To learn more about the course, watch the faculty's Brainshark presentation.

To view a presentation, you must have the latest version of Flash or a browser that supports HTML5.

Course Information

Course Type

Advanced Elective


4 credits


Sophomore, Junior, or Senior.

Student must be, and remain, in good academic standing with the college for duration of the course.

Student must be in good standing with the Office of Community Standards by time of travel.



Course Documents

Syllabus  |  Itinerary  |  Information Session Materials

Academic Accommodations

Students requesting accommodations due to a disability should visit the students with disabilities abroad page for more information.

Course Logistics


Lisbon, Portugal
Amsterdam, Netherlands


  • Students will be staying in 3-4 star hotels during the course in double occupancy rooms.
  • Students are housed in double rooms based on the same gender/gender identity.
  • Students interested in requesting housing accommodations on an Elective Abroad, should visit the students with disabilities abroad page for more information.


International Flight (Not Included in Program Fee)

Students will be responsible for booking their own international flight to/from TBD. A recommended international flight itinerary will be provided to students registered for the course. Students are responsible for booking their own flight AFTER the course has been confirmed to run (i.e. participant minimum number is reached). The international flight cost is not included in the program fee. 

  • Arrival Airport Code: TBD
  • Departure Airport Code: TBD

Local Transportation

The program fee includes the following transportation: charter bus, local train, and subway tickets.


Students should also expect to pay for additional individual transportation around the city and to do significant walking.


  • Breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
  • The following meals are also included in the program fee: welcome dinner and alumni reception.
  • Students are responsible for paying for most lunches and dinners on their own.
  • Students with food allergies, intolerances, or other dietary restrictions are encouraged to contact their Program Manager prior to committing to the course to discuss any questions or concerns.
Electives Abroad Cost Elements

Estimated Total Cost:  $TBD + Tuition (4 credits)

Program Fee: $TBD

  • Included: Accommodations, breakfast, ground transportation, planned program meals and cultural excursions.
  • Not included: Tuition, international flight, visa costs, additional meals, and personal expenses. 
  • Payment: The program fee is paid to the Glavin Office.
  • Cancellation Policy: All students who confirm their placement and later withdraw from the course are subject to the Elective Abroad cancellation policy. Please review this policy to understand any additional financial obligations.

Babson Tuition: 4-Credits

  • Summer Session tuition is paid directly to SFS and is billed at the 2020-2021 credit rate ($X per credit). Each Elective Abroad is 4 credits. Summer tuition is separate from fall and spring tuition charges, however, you may qualify for a tuition adjustment in a future year.
  • To discuss tuition or your financial situation or to learn about grant opportunities, visit Student Financial Services.

Travel & Meals: $TBD

  • Airfare (Individual estimated to/from BOS): $TBD
  • Estimated Additional Meals: $TBD
  • Estimated Incidentals: $TBD
    • Incidentals and additional meals (lunches and dinners) are based on estimates.
    • Expenses may be higher or lower depending on student's meal preferences.
  • Visa (if applicable)
    • All students are asked to research the visa requirements for their nationality to travel to Netherlands and Portugal (including transit travel countries) before committing to the course.
    • Students are responsible for securing visas (as needed) before travel.

Grants & Scholarships

Contact Information

Lead Faculty

James Bradford  

Professor James Bradford

James Bradford was awarded the John F. Richards Fellowship from the Afghanistan Institute of Afghanistan Studies to research the history of opium production, use, and trade in Afghanistan. His research led to the publication of his article, "Drug Control in Afghanistan: Culture, Politics, and Power during the 1958 Prohibition of Opium in Badakhshan," in the Journal of Iranian Studies (forthcoming, March 2015). His broader research interests include U.S. foreign policy, the illicit drug trade, and issues related to state building, globalization, and economic development in South Asia and the world. He also teaches classes on the global drug trade, human rights, political and social revolutions, South Asia, and U.S. foreign policy in the world at Berklee College of Music.


Program Manager

Renee Graham  

Renée Graham

Renée Graham, Assistant Director of the Short-Term Programs Team, manages the programming for Electives Abroad & Away, the International Consulting Experience, and the Global Entrepreneurship Experience. She manages the 2020/21 undergraduate Electives Abroad courses to the Netherlands/Portugal, Spain and England and Away courses to Califorina (Los Angeles and San Francisco). Renée has programming responsibility for the graduate Electives Abroad course in Sweden and MSEL Global Entrepreneurship Experience programs in Chile and China. In the Fall you will also see Renée court side as an assistant coach for the Babson women’s volleyball team.


Course Administrator









Student Quotes

This program is currently not accepting applications.