The Netherlands: An Amazing Trip That Really Opened My Eyes To Some Incredible Experiences Past Review

By (Chemistry., Illinois State University) for

Netherlands Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was very worthwhile. While it was very expensive, it was also one of the single best experiences I've ever had in my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I would for sure do it over again if given the chance and budget.

Review Photos

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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.

The work load was not that heavy, the grading system is much different than ours- they grade with numbers 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 etc-

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration in the study abroad office in my host country were not very helpful; they were also slow at getting things done.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment I stayed in was okay, it's much smaller than are in the States, however it was fully furnished. There was also a kitchen that was fully stocked with cookware and utensils. My apartment was one of the closest to campus, it was only about an 8 minute bike ride.

* Food:

A lot of the food is fried, but it's very good. There are many different types of food to try and most of them were delicious. The weird thing they eat over there is mayo with their french fries instead of ketchup; also sides like ketchup usually cost extra when you go to a fast food restaurant like McDonald's.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We took a trip to Amsterdam within the first month, it was still pretty good weather at that time and it was an amazing trip. We also visited one of the Dutch islands, this was a lot of fun because there was 50 international students staying in a cabana type house for the weekend. After that trip I was a lot closer to everyone else, and I'll never forget how much fun we had on the beach.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city I stayed at was very safe, I would very often bike by myself at night and I never felt unsafe or found myself in a bad situation. In the Netherlands they have universal health care, however being a foreign exchange student you don't get to benefit from this because you're not a citizen and you don't pay taxes. However, the University had a student health clinic, similar to the one available at ISU.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? This number varied greatly. If I went out to the bars a lot then it was probably close to 50 euros (~$70), however if I didn't go out that often it was lower around 30 euros (~$45).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would definitely over budget the trip. If you plan on traveling a lot (I didn't travel much at all) you'll need way more money. A train ticket to Amsterdam is about 25 euros each way, so 50 euros total which gets you to about $70. Then you need to factor in how much you'd want to spend on a place to stay (if you're staying over night), food, and souvenirs. The most unanticipated expenses were how expensive the trains were. Also a lot of the time if you want to use the bathroom you need to pay for it, however this is only about 50 cents.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would suggest that a person brings a warm rain jacket because it rains a lot in the Netherlands. I think anyone would do well in the Netherlands because you don't need to know how to speak Dutch in order to get by. However, someone who is timid and shy would not do as well because everyone there is very outgoing but they're not going to hold your hand and make sure you have a good time. Many of the other international students at this school came primarily to improve their English, so being an American student they'll love to hold conversations with you. A student that is open minded and likes to meet many new people would definitely do best in the Netherlands.