A Semester Long Vacation July 20, 2017

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/29/2017 to 06/03/2017 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself, and I think that was most important. It is one of the only times I will be able to spend months in Europe, so it was so 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.

Academics were very easy, which is why there are 3.5 stars, so I had lots of time to explore and enjoy the city. However, I was not challenged at all but that is the culture there. I enjoyed my CIEE classes more than my University of Amsterdam classes and really liked learning Dutch.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE Amsterdam was great and helpful with everything and planned great programs.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really liked where I lived but it was hard sometimes because people in my program lived all over the city, but then again we biked everywhere so that was nice.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated but definitely could have been more integrated, and I felt like most of the people on my program mostly made American friends. My friend in a smaller program in Leiden made a lot of Dutch friends because there were fewer Americans.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Once I had a fever but used some medicine my roommate bought and that worked well.

* Safety:

I felt safe and comfortable walking at night but less safe than I feel in America and I think a lot of women felt this way too.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I would choose the same program because Amsterdam really felt like home after a while, and I miss it but I am happy to be home.

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)

I was able to, but you always spend more money than you would at school, but I actually saved money because studying abroad was cheaper than studying at Brandeis, so I spent the money I saved on travel.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Don't remember
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you think it will be a problem, work and save money according to how much you will want to do while abroad.

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

They always encouraged us to use it but it was hard because everyone speaks English, but it was nice to recognize words on signs and menus

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? Passed out of French requirement
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk with Dutch people! And practice in restaurants and cafes even though everyone speaks English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city
  • The people
  • Biking
* What could be improved?
  • How far apart everyone lived
  • Better classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't make too many expectations before you go. Go with the flow and make it your own experience.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.