Great City, Terrible Education June 09, 2017

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/02/2017 to 06/03/2017 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Business + Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile to go abroad and be able to have so many new experiences.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had an absolutely awful experience with the University of Amsterdam, and I know many students did as well. My program was full of students from amazing universities like Harvard, Yale, etc., yet I knew several friends who failed courses. Those who did not fail any courses were very close to. I did more work all semester than I typically do at my home university and was not at all rewarded for it. Professors and CIEE were very unhelpful throughout the semester, which made it even worse. I loved the city of Amsterdam but the education had a very negative impact on my experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

In some ways, the CIEE staff was very nice and helpful. In other cases, however, they were hard to get in contact with and would often blame things on the University and resort to saying there was nothing they could do when it hadn't seemed like they had even tried.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The location of my dorm was great. There were some minor problems but I think that is to be expected at any student dorm

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the health center a total of 3 times, once for myself and twice accompanying friends. In the end, going to the doctor didn't really help any of us at all.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

If I could do a program that used a different University in Amsterdam I would definitely choose the city again, but the education had such a negative impact on my experience that I would choose somewhere else.

Finances

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200

Language

* 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

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? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the city of Amsterdam
  • the trips I was able to take
  • the people I met
* What could be improved?
  • the school
  • the communication between the program and the school
  • the flexibility of courses on behalf of the program, the university, and Brandeis
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had a better sense of which classes I should take and which I shouldn't