Amsterdam: A Surreal Take on the Western World Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/16/2013 to 12/22/2013 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Business + Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned what it meant to be an American by having my national identity in my face at all times. Moreover, I learned how to successfully live in a major global city while my main mode of transportation was a bicycle.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt well immersed in the country and culture, particularly having learned the language. However, Dutch youth are difficult to get to know as they do not particularly care about international students and getting to know them. This is not something I think is exclusive to my experience though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare in the Netherlands was super accessible. I had to get a wisdom tooth removed and it was a rather easy process to get a referral and be seen by a dentist.

* Safety:

Amsterdam was a very safe city and I had very little trouble getting around safely.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Groceries were much cheaper than I anticipated them being since I bought everything street markets. It can be difficult to budget successfully with so many leisure activities and travel opportunities to take advantage of.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $100-$200 per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try and plan even your leisure activities ahead of time. Rather than waiting until the week of a concert to buy tickets, purchase them in advance.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I took a really rigorous beginner's course that worked to make us very conversational. We were encouraged to practice what we learned but it was not anything mandatory.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had taken up to third level of spanish.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Meet students your own age and join clubs with them in it. This is the easiest way to have consistent and conversational exposure to the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cycling everywhere
  • Environment
  • Living in a city
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew about the various discount travel services like ryanair and easyJet.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.