Best Semester Yet Past Review

By (American Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/14/2015 to 12/19/2015 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences + Humanities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Expanded my interests, made me realize how fun school and adult life can be, made me consider things from a new point of view and open my mind beyond my small campus bubble. Totally worthwhile.

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.

I loved the UvA classes--particularly Urban Sociology. I thought overall they were of similar rigor to my home institution, though I think it was a bit easier to get away with doing less work to achieve the same ends. The professors really cared about their subjects. The only downside is that your classes are not malleable once you sign up--so make sure your list of classes that you're interested in is carefully carefully vetted, and includes only ones you realistically would be happy to take.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff is available, super kind, and will bend over backwards to make anything you need happen.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Center of the city, on Prinsengracht with a canal view in an international dorm. Loved the community, loved the RA's, loved the other international students. Single room and shared a bathroom--could not have asked for better housing!!

* Food:

Food is not provided for you--my dorm room had a small kitchenette, so it's weird to rate cooking for myself. The city has amazing amazing restaurants--ask your local friends for recommendations, and avoid Dam Square area (very touristy, overpriced, not that good)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made a huge effort to integrate myself, which meant actually not really participating in the CIEE organized events, which was fine by me. Join student groups!! Joining ASVGay was the best decision I made abroad, and helped me make a huge number of local friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No experience with healthcare--but I know it was easily available.

* Safety:

Extremely safe city; never felt uncomfortable walking or biking at night alone as a woman.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't go out to eat often, be smart when grocery shopping and buy in season, get a museum card.


* 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

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Housing
  • The city!
  • Classes with Dutch students
* What could be improved?
  • Price of the program
  • Special interest group timing
  • Class preference selection timing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That every person wants something different from an abroad experience--make sure you figure out what it is that you want, and then pursue that.

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.'