A Program For the Open-Minded and Independent December 21, 2019

By (Franklin & Marshall College) - abroad from 08/25/2019 to 12/06/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad: Netherlands - International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about my interests in the field of gender and sexuality studies and potential career directions.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics provide a great exposure to coursework in the history and sociology of gender and sexuality studies, but on top of that, they intersect with many other fields of study such as philosophy, politics, and anthropology. The content and discussions are often challenging and complex, and as such, they present an opportunity for students to critically engage with material. Grading, deadlines, and structure may be lax, but intellectual growth is plentiful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program staff are very welcoming and committed to the program efforts.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay option allows students to experience different areas of Amsterdam they otherwise would not interact with.

* Food:

Bear in mind that those with dietary restrictions or preferences are likely to face greater monetary costs in order to accommodate their eating styles. Dietary restrictions are manageable, but the homestay households and program lunches in this program will be most suitable for those who eat meat, dairy, and gluten.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There is little opportunity for integration through the homestay itself, but if one becomes active in local events, they could potentially create connections.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program staff is incredibly kind and understanding of any health concerns that may arise.

* Safety:

Amsterdam is a very, very safe city. Biking is a functional mode of transportation that allows students to bike at night, through otherwise sketchy areas, and home right to one's door without worry. Well-lit and widely-used, the tram is also a comfortable mode of transportation. Despite common misconceptions, the Red Light District and tourist exploitation do not pose a threat in Amsterdam. It is best to be alert when you are traveling through high tourist areas in Amsterdam, but you will not be bothered if you don't draw attention to yourself. The latter point also applies to the two-week excursion in Morocco. I would recommend purchasing a bike light, as some bikes do not include lights and they can be helpful when biking at night.

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

Amsterdam was the ideal city for me and it was pivotal to my academic career to experience the intersection of theory and practice in a very tangible sense.

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)

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? Budget how much you are willing to spend on food, clothes, coffee and travel. Consider that Amsterdam is a pricey city, especially if you have eating preferences (i.e. vegan restaurants, organic supermarkets) or frequent "hipster" spots such as cafes with fancy coffee and pastries.

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? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200-level Spanish 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? Use the language with your host family; attempt to use it when ordering or purchasing items.

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

  • Americans
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?
  • Program Location(s)
  • Program Content
  • Peer Culture
* What could be improved?
  • Program Structure
  • Academic Structure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I was more certain of my own interests in the gender and sexuality studies field so I could hone specific interests in my research or internship.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'