Livin' the Dutch Life Past Review

By (English and Visual Arts, Fordham University) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 12/12/2012 with

IES Abroad: Amsterdam Direct Enrollment - Gerrit Rietveld Academie

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Traveling is a mind opening experience, and you should always expose yourself to new experiences and make connections with any interesting person you meet, even if the relationship is fleeting. Going abroad was definitely worthwhile. You can't get much more independent than living on your own in a foreign country and making a life for yourself there.

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.

The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is very self-motivated. You do not get assignments from professors, classes do not have a curriculum, nor are they truly classes (more like weekly meetings with teachers) and the pressure is very low. I would have liked a more structured school where I could have clear goals set for all of my classes and a more traditional art education.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

You cook for yourself since you live in apartments, so the food just depends on how good of a cook you are.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Gerrit Rietveld Academie has 40% international students, almost all who are there for the full 4 years. It also helped that I was directly enrolled in the regular classes with all the regular students. My friends at the Universiteit van Amsterdam were not integrated because they only took classes with other American students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues, so I don't know.

* Safety:

Amsterdam is an extremely safe city. It's safe to walk or bike at night, even if you are alone.

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 about 100 Euros a week, which included all grocery shopping (very cheap in Amsterdam), going out, and trips to the flea markets.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy anything from H&M or Zara, because the same exact things are back home in the US, and if you do go shopping, stick to flea markets for the better prices and something more authentically Dutch.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Friends
  • Biking
  • Freedom
* What could be improved?
  • Explanation that the school is very unstructured
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is extremely unstructured. If you work well on your own and are self-motivated and can have some ideas ready before you even get there of what you'd like to make, research, and explore, then it's the school for you. If you want to take painting classes and get real instruction from professional artists on how to improve your skills, you might consider going to a different school. The Rietveld focuses more on concept and research of ideas. More John Baldessari than Chuck Close.

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.