Semester in Amsterdam January 17, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/17/2018 to 12/22/2018 with

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Amsterdam - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about myself and how to survive in a new city than anything else, but it was a valuable experience.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

If you don't do a minor program, class is very lax. I was only in the classroom two days a week during the second period, and for only a few hours a day. Classes can be interesting, but professors have much lower expectations than we are used to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Semester in Amsterdam staff are lovely, wonderful, and supportive. They are willing to help you with any issue and easy to get a hold of in person or by phone or email.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the Student Hotel, which is a nice place. I particularly liked the large single rooms and individual bathrooms. However, it is far from campus and the hotel staff often have no idea what's going on.

* Food:

You have to do all of your cooking yourself, so this will depend on your savviness of grocery shopping and your cooking ability.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Lots of social opportunities in the program, but most of the other students will also be American. The Dutch students often commute, and can be difficult to get to know.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No vaccines were required to go. I didn't have any experience with the health care while I was there.

* Safety:

The city is very safe, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open for oncoming traffic, particularly bikes.

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

There were rough moments, but the experience was positive.


* 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)

It can be very easy to spend excess money while there, especially in the first few weeks or while traveling, but with a budget in mind it is manageable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100


* 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

I rarely used Dutch outside of my Dutch language class.

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? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • 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?
  • Independence
  • Fellow Students
* What could be improved?
  • Course Expectations
  • Transportation Money
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Studying abroad will be more challenging than you expect, and you will learn different things than you expect.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.