A New Opportunity Each Day! February 07, 2024

By (Social Sciences, Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/21/2023 to 12/23/2023 with

IES Abroad: Amsterdam - Social Sciences & Humanities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be curious and to explore other viewpoints/outlooks beyond my own. It was the most worthwhile experience ever.

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.

The classes were engaging, both with IES and the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Not as much academic support, and larger classes at UvA, but the IES administrators were always there to support us with academic (or other) challenges.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were lots of different individuals to reach out to if we needed help. During orientation days each housing unit was assigned an IES administrator(s).

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing unit was great, but location-wise, it was sometimes difficult to travel to classes.

* Food:

The program did not routinely provide food, but on some occasions we were treated to very good celebratory/orientation meals

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt a little bit disconnected from the overall culture of the city, but made some good friends at the university, including dutch students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health related issues.

* Safety:

Amsterdam is a very safe city, and housing locations were also in safe areas.

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

I found it was very well organized and I had people to reach out to. That at the end of the day made me feel well-supported.


* 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? Usually about 25 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Become acquainted with the grocery scene when thinking about food. In the Netherlands the grocery store food is of very good quality. Eating out can sometimes put a strain on your budget, certainly in some large european cities.


* 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

The program didn't encourage us to use the language outside of the class, except for assignments to interact with individual dutch people.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had completed a second-semester italian course
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? I think that learning to read signs and the public representations of the language will be most helpful, beyond conversational skills.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • The classes
  • The trips
* What could be improved?
  • community/program engagement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I know now that the study abroad experience is one where you have to navigate being independent. I didn't really account for this at first, but I learned a lot about living/shopping/traveling independently.