Amsterdam is like the Las Vegas of Europe Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/30/2014 to 06/04/2014 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences + Humanities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a real perspective on living abroad and living independently, and got the chance to travel around Europe from a storybook locale as home base. I'll never

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.

* 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?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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


* 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? about $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Join a supermarket membership program as soon as you get to Amsterdam and take advantage of their savings opportunities.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • Amsterdam's architecture
  • Opportunities for travel
  • international student body
* What could be improved?
  • student housing
  • a food plan or other cost saving measures
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Amsterdam is a fantastic city, but it's pretty small. Additionally, its visibility as a "hedonistic" tourist destination means that most of the city's nightlife is consumed by tourist-targeted nightclubs and McDonald's restaurants on every corner. I wish I had known that the artistic expression and bohemian idealism I associated with Amsterdam before I left to study abroad are actually more prevalent in cities like Prague and Copenhagen.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Social Trends, Social Problems, and Social Policies

Course Department: Sociology
Instructor: David Bos
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was fascinating to learn about Dutch social trends from an instructor who has been working in the field for decades. Of particular note was hearing Professor Bos speak about the recent changes in public attitude towards social policies in the Netherlands, where opinions have shifted from their historically liberal position to a decidedly right wing position in recent years. Frequent writing assignments and several examinations also kept the class engaged.
Credit Transfer Issues: Pending.
Course Name/Rating:

Gender, Sexuality, and Institutions

Course Department: Women and Gender Studies
Instructor: Luara Ferracioli
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Having never taken a women's studies or gender course at Middlebury College, I was blown away by the atmosphere presented by Professor Ferracioli's class at the University of Amsterdam. Given the culture of sexual liberation in Amsterdam, it was invaluable to get to discuss issues like prostitution, pornography, and female castration with an engaged and passionate class of Dutch and international students, all of whom were intellectually engaged and invested and differing in their opinions. I particularly appreciated Professor Ferracioli's classroom structure in which debate and student led discussion guided the direction of the curriculum.
Credit Transfer Issues: Pending.
Course Name/Rating:

Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy: From Cold War to Terror

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Dina Fainberg
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Dr. Fainberg's class was a standard lecture course with frequent essay assignments and examinations. While it wasn't the most challenging political science course I have ever taken, I will never forget the experience of studying Soviet Foreign Policy from the perspective of a Russian instructor who made a point of illuminating those aspects of Cold War history that were of great importance to Soviet citizens during the 20th century, but which most American and Western European history and political science courses have glossed over.
Credit Transfer Issues: Pending.
Course Name/Rating:

Authoritarian Barriers to Democracy in the Middle East

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Mehdi Amineh
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Dr. Amineh's course on authoritarian barriers to democracy in the Middle East was a fantastic course built on frequent essay assignments, examinations, and individual student-led lectures. Dr. Amineh made individual meetings and presentations the focus of his assessments, and his passion and expertise on the subject of 'Authoritarian Barriers' really shown through during these meetings. Of particular note was learning about recent Middle East history from a decidedly non-American perspective, as everyone else in the course -- including the Professor -- was a citizen of Europe or the Middle East.
Credit Transfer Issues: Pending.