Adventure in Amsterdam January 22, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/19/2017 to 12/24/2017 with

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Amsterdam - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained the ability to live on my own without too much support from the school; it was certainly worthwhile.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose the least expensive housing option, De Boelelaan. The apartment was in a good location, but the housing company, DUWO, was difficult to communicate with and slow to respond to concerns- the apartment was not cleaned before we moved in, and we were without heat for two full days.

* Food:

I usually cooked for myself, but the meals that I did eat in the city were very good. I found grocery shopping to be much cheaper than in the US.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had a Dutch buddy (domestic student paired with international students), but other than that and a few cultural excursions, I was not very integrated with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health concerns while I was abroad; there were no prevalent health issues, and I did not need any vaccines specifically for this program.

* Safety:

There were no major safety concerns while I was in Amsterdam, and I felt much safer walking alone than I do in the US.

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

Although there was nothing special about the program I chose, I met a lot of people whom I otherwise would not have known. The program let us be fairly independent, which was exactly what I was looking for.

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)

I cooked most of my meals at home, which was fairly cheap.

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

My section of the language course did not encourage us to use the local language more than once per class period/once per week, and when we were encouraged to use it, it was only for about five minutes at a time.

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

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • People
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There would be very little support in terms of language.