Rewarding Music Experience Past Review

By (Jazz Studies, Music Education, Northwestern University) - abroad from 08/24/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

IES Abroad: Amsterdam Direct Enrollment - Conservatorium van Amsterdam

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In Amsterdam, I was enrolled as a jazz trumpet student at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. This is truly a great school to study your interests in the area of jazz and explore new styles and tastes. My course schedule allowed me plenty of time for practice (big practice rooms), attending jam sessions, and some more tourist-y activities. I got a strong impression that my instructors sincerely cared about my musical development. They helped me to become more fluent in technique, expression, and adapting to new situations. Amsterdam is a city friendly to musicians and there is a great culture of musical excellence. The living situation (apartment) is only a 5-10 minute bike ride to the conservatory, which is situated not far from the center of Amsterdam. I had one roommate in a room with a bathroom, kitchen, and extra storage space. Compared to a typical dorm, the room is quite spacious. Our hot water did go out a couple times, but this was easily taken care of with the help of the RAs. I found out shortly after arriving that many conservatory students ride their bikes 30-40 mins to and from their rooms, so I felt really fortunate with our housing. The IES office staff were delightful to work with. They communicate, via email newsletters, upcoming activities in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, as well as pieces of Dutch history and other tid-bits about the people and culture. There are also opportunities to go on some great field trips sponsored by IES. I participated in the overnight trip to the island Texel and attended a soccer match. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in studying at one of Europe's and the World's finest music schools.

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.

Great school, building, resources, and teachers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very helpful and organized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Some issues with hot water in our room, but was quickly resolved with RA assistance.

* Food:

I cooked or prepared almost all of my meals, but there are other options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not very culturally different. I wish I had more time to get to know the language better.

* 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


* 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 spent the equivalent of about 80 U.S. dollars on food and other expenses each week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-150 U.S. dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook at home!


* 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

Almost all Dutch speak English, so they would often just switch to English instead of carrying on a conversation in Dutch.

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? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Look for online options to get some of the basics down.

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?
  • Academic program
  • Music Culture
  • IES support
* What could be improved?
  • .
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I looked into learning some of the language before being immersed in the city and culture.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!