The Place to Be! January 10, 2024

By (Liberal Arts, General Studies, Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/30/2023 to 06/02/2023 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences + Humanities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned an incredible amount of independence a broader understanding of the world and a new culture. I loved immersing myself in the city I was in. It was absolutely worthwhile and I wish I could do it again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

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? Yes

I loved this program so much, especially the living situation, the city of Amsterdam, and the social aspects of CIEE. I think the academic setup was slightly underwhelming. I preferred the CIEE-led classes to the UvA classes, but overall, I left feeling slightly unfulfilled academically, but I blame that more on the UvA class that I was enrolled in.


* 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? maybe ~300 euro a week?
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cooking for yourself!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? N/A
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? Studying and pushing yourself to speak it out loud in class

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?
  • Housing Set Up
  • Information provided by the program prior and during our stay. They were very helpful in making sure you were set up for success.
  • Social gatherings and opportunities provided by the program
* What could be improved?
  • Preparations for what UvA classes would be like
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? N/A

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Philosophy of Science

Course Department: Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
Instructor: Michael Merry
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I found this course boring and too strict. Lectures were easy to understand but boring and there was far too much reading given. When it was time for the exam, which decided 100% of your grade...there was so much information to digest as there were no interim assignments. While I felt prepared, Professor Merry expected students to provide insane specifics in order to excel on the exam. So, therefore, I did not succeed to my standards and did far worse than I ever have in a course at Middlebury, which is arguably a more difficult and prestigious academic institution. There was also a paper that only international students had to write, and he provided no information on why we had to write this and how it would fit into our final grade. I was severely disappointed by this course.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Dutch Public Health

Course Department: CIEE
Instructor: Leighann Kimble
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really enjoyed this course. Leighann Kimble was an engaging professor and she was very fair in her assessment of us, grading papers and exams fairly, and presenting her standards of these assignments well. She was very knowledgeable and well-prepared. I participated equally to how I would have at my home institution.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Dutch Social Policy

Course Department: CIEE
Instructor: Katie Poltz
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I thought this was a great course and very informative of the policy of the country we were living in, which I really enjoyed. We took many cool field trips and the lectures were informative and interesting. I participated the same as I would here and found that assessments were fair and expectations were clear. We had papers and presentations.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Dutch

Course Department: CIEE
Instructor: Marianne Houben
Instruction Language: English and Dutch
Comments: I loved this class. Marianne made it really fun to learn Dutch and was super helpful in her teaching method. Assignments included exams and short writing assignments that were very helpful to our learning of the language. We also took many field trips that were very helpful and very interesting. Marianne was a great dutch instructor and I loved her class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Cross Cultural Psychology

Course Department: CIEE
Instructor: Iro Fragnaki
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was very disappointing. It was not challenging, but the instructor was very unclear and the way that she instructed was incredibly boring. The content was also not novel at all and felt very obvious. The professor was not friendly and always assumed the worst from students; for example, not explaining assignments well, the class was confused, and then her being very upset with the class because we did it wrong.
Credit Transfer Issues: