Amsterdam for a semester February 02, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/20/2018 to 12/22/2018 with

CIEE: Amsterdam - Social Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A new understanding of independence.

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.

I enjoyed the anthropology classes I took at the UvA and felt like that they were as rigorous as my home school classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The host country program staff were fantastic and always willing to help when necessary.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was in a homestay and for the most part, I got along well with my host family. However, there were a few moments where there was miscommunication on both sides, occasionally leading to tension.

* Food:

Amsterdam's food was generally good, as long as you knew what places to go to and got recommendations from other people, usually.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The resources that my program offered helped me feel more integrated with the local culture as well as my time in my homestay as well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have an experience with healthcare since I did not get sick enough to warrant it. I did not need vaccines.

* Safety:

Amsterdam as a whole was pretty safe in my experience. I walked around late at night enough and did not experience any incidents. However, I do know friends who went out and were harassed by drunk people during the weekends, so that is something to be aware of. Also, keep track of how long the public transportation is running for.

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

The housing that I got in my program would not have been possible in the other program that students at my homeschool attended and generally I had more opportunities to engage with Amsterdam more through the events that CIEE organized.

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 would say around $100-150 a week on food and personal expenses. Occasionally I would spend more depending on if I was out with friends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save money in general if you're planning to go out often and take advantage of markets

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

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? Mandarin Chinese up to the 200-level courses.
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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 staff overall
  • UVA classes
  • Exploring Amsterdam
* What could be improved?
  • More social opportunities
  • Clearer in regards to enrolling into classes
  • 2 Orientations – the international student one UvA did was not that helpful
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I made more efforts to talk to Dutch students/other International students. Also, if you get a ING bank account, they won't let you transfer your money back to a US bank account usually since they require IBAN # which most US banks don't have so you'll have to transfer most of your money out another way.