The City of Love Past Review

By (Social Sciences, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/26/2015 to 05/29/2015 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences + Humanities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot from my experience abroad. I learned to challenge myself beyond my comfortable limits and learned a lot about tolerance and living on my own. It was extremely worthwhile.

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.

Obviously depends on the classes that you enroll in. I would suggest, READING THE SYLLABI ON THE HOME UNIVERSITY. I didn't understand how to work my abroad University's website and didn't even know that there were course descriptions (I don't know why I thought that), and ended up taking two super difficult and very onerous courses. In one class I had an assignment due every Sunday and the other course I had class until 5:30pm every Friday and it really messed up my traveling plans. But overall, I thought that the courses were extremely interesting and challenging!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The CIEE staff, abroad and in the States, were great! They always helped me out with anything that I needed

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had independent housing so I arranged for my own living quarters and it was awesome!

* Food:

I had no troubles with food at all. You just had to learn to grocery shop and cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think my experience was an exception to the rule because I went to Amsterdam in order to live with my girlfriend and I felt like I really got an authentic Amsterdammer experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

We had a safety orientation and Amsterdam is extremely safe.

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)

Well, again I think that my case was exceptional because I was living with my girlfriend and we split the costs for everything. I lived pretty easily, I spent money when I wanted to spend it, but I also wasn't going out every single day and throwing my money in the toilet like some of the other people on my program. I mean, I understood that living in a Western European country is more expensive than living in America. Fortunately (for me), the Euro fell in value, which allowed me to buy more with what I had saved so maybe if the Euro hadn't had fallen I might have had a bit of a harder time with budgeting, but it was pretty ok.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20-40 euros on a normal week? 20 being on the cheaper side and 40 being on the more expensive side
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save now, especially if you know that you're going somewhere where the cost of living is higher than in America. Take out cash in the bulk because of the banking fees. Also, if you can open up a bank account, do it. Pay the $40 in the beginning and never pay a fee again (they definitely add up). If you don't have this option then pay attention to the daily exchange rates, obviously if you need money take it out but sometimes the exchange rates are much lower than other times and take out the bulk of your cash then.


* 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? Hebrew 30
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? Nope

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • One of my classes
* What could be improved?
  • Making sure that classes don't go until 5:30 pm on Fridays
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to access the syllabi before picking classes

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'