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IES Abroad Amsterdam - Study Amsterdam Semester/Year Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My semester in Amsterdam

Spending my spring semester in Amsterdam was one the best decisions I've made and I feel so lucky to have been able to live in one of the coolest cities in the world for four months. While it was great to have time off and be able to travel, I still felt like there was always more to explore in Amsterdam every weekend and I didn't feel too much of a need to go see other cities while I was already somewhere that I loved being. There is so much to see and so much to do, from visiting the many museums they have to offer, to visiting Keukenhof (the tulip festival in the spring), and of course biking around trying to understand the flow of traffic. Not only would I recommend that every college student spend a semester abroad, but also everyone should visit Amsterdam; if you can do those both at the same time, that's perfect! And if you do, make sure to treasure every moment, because you will always look back and reminisce, and you want to make sure you made the most out of it with no regrets.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    10

Exceeding expectations

I did not know much about Amsterdam or the Dutch culture prior to making my decision to study there. When finally arriving on campus, I was in confusion of where I was dropped off by my taxi driver. Amsterdam is known as the city of bikes and canals; however, my first exposure out of Schiphol Airport did not meet my expectations. I was dropped off on-campus where I was surrounded by unpleasing aesthetics and construction. I was surprised and almost regretted my decision of selecting Amsterdam for the next 5 months of my life. As my first week progressed, I got used to my surroundings, and during the first week, I eventually made my way into the city center--the area of Amsterdam I fell in-love with and the place where I spent most of my time with the amazing group of IES friends I met during my time there. Overall, my decision to study abroad exceeded my expectations from day one and continued to do so each and everyday. This experience is one I will never regret or forget as it gave me the opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and personally. In the end, I grew appreciation for Dutch culture and society.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

An awesome time in Amsterdam

As I waited to board the plane in January (2016) to spend my spring semester in Amsterdam through the IES program, I called my good friend from Ithaca College and I told her I was nervous, but I didn’t know why exactly. She told me, “Of course you are nervous. You are about to go on the biggest adventure of your life.” She was right. It’s funny how it took me to move to another country to feel so much more like myself. I was forced to become very independent, comfortable with the uncomfortable, and more than willing to experience new things. Being alone was my only option. I knew not a soul in this foreign country; all my decisions had to be made through my own mind. By doing this I was able to learn a new city through my own eyes rather than through those of other people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Swimming through the Netherlands

When I arrived in Amsterdam for my semester abroad, it was the first time I had ever been outside of the United States. I did not go into this program with any friends from my home university, so I was pretty nervous and overwhelmed the first couple days. I also was missing the second half of my swimming season back at home, so I knew that would be difficult to come to terms with as well. Within the first week of my time in the Netherlands however, I went to four museums, joined a Dutch swim team, and met students from around the world. I found a great group of people to spend time with and with the museum card provided by IES, I went to countless museums. Throughout the course of the semester, I learned how to adapt to my new surroundings and made many new friends. I visited many cities throughout the Netherlands: Haarlem, Utrecht, Rotterdam, the Hague, Delft, and Maastricht. I was also able to travel to Germany, Belgium, France, and Poland. I am a European History major, so all of that was very exciting for me. I learned to view the world through a different perspective and had many valuable conversations that challenged my previous perceptions. I gained so much from my time abroad and I am very grateful for my experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Psychology and Sciences Program in Amsterdam

IES Abroad Amsterdam facilitates a semester of studying and living in Amsterdam. You are given the chance to enroll directly into a Dutch university with a wide variety of courses available to you. I was able to keep up with my Neuroscience major at my home university, as well as explore some topics that weren't offered at my home school. IES itself does fantastic work organizing experiences for students to experience Dutch culture in ways that we wouldn't necessarily discover ourselves. We took field trips to Rotterdam, Kinderdijk, Alkmaar, and the Texel mudflats to name just a few. Without their help I may not have visited many cities outside of Amsterdam, and getting an impression of the country as a whole was important for my experience. As cheesy and overplayed as it is, studying abroad in Amsterdam has changed my frame of reference for everything from academics to international relations.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amsterdam: Living the Dream

The IES program in Amsterdam was the most incredible thing I could have ever imagined. I know that always sounds cheesy to say, but there is no other way to describe it. I made some of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for, I was immersed in the culture, and I even learned some Dutch. But one of the most valuable things I gained from this experience was broadening my views of people, culture, and the world. The Dutch way of life made me appreciate every walk of life, every detail of every activity I did, and opened my mind to so many different ideas and lifestyles.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing Study Abroad in Amsterdam

It is difficult to summarize how amazing of experience studying abroad in Amsterdam was. From exciting canal boat rides, to hectic rush hour bike rides, to studying in a cozy Dutch cafe, Amsterdam is a city that offers so much. The IES Amsterdam staff allowed me to get so much out of my abroad adventures and they made sure I was always satisfied and safe. I can't thank them enough. When it comes to my studies abroad, my classes were so interesting and allowed me to experience a different learning structure then US classes. It really challenged me and allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. The Dutch culture is ultimately a welcoming one. Everyone is willing to give a helping hand, and is warm and kind while doing so. I can't wait to go back because of such the positive experience I had the first time around.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Abroad Amsterdam- Psychology and Sciences

My four short months spent in Amsterdam were incredible. With Amsterdam’s rich history, beautiful canals, world-class museums, and vibrant nightlife it is the ideal city for study abroad. Amsterdam is charming and cozy in addition to energetic and fun. Getting around the city is a breeze, with the majority of museums, nightlife, and shopping being a short bike ride away. Academics place much more self-initiative on the student; however, the class schedule, along with Amsterdam’s central location makes traveling easy. The housing for this program is unique in that as an American student, I had the opportunity to live with and become close with other international students. Although becoming immersed with locals was difficult, the international student building is located near other student housing, which makes its possible, with enough effort, to meet local students.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My experience abroad (briefly)

The four months that I spent in Amsterdam were, for a lack of a better word, amazing. I got to know the city in a way that I didn't think I ever would, and got to meet great people. It was a cool balance between doing my daily things there and feeling at home and exploring the city, which made me feel like a tourist. It was also nice that our program all lived in the same building, which made us all very close. This experience was special for me because I have family that lives in the Netherlands, so it was nice being able to see them more often than I usually do. Additionally, the IES staff did a great job organizing trips and other activities to see other parts of the Netherlands that many visitors don't think of visiting or seeing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

IES Abroad - Amsterdam

I thought the overall program was great. The living conditions were great, the classes were well-taught - I especially enjoyed all the excursions. One aspect that was lacking was the "cultural immersion" aspect, as there were not many opportunities presented to us to spend time with Dutch citizens.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Study Amsterdam

Studying Abroad was the best decision I have ever made. Amsterdam almost instantly felt like home to me, and the IES staff was incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the entire experience. There is so much to do in Amsterdam, but the city never felt overwhelming. There are amazing bookstores, cafes, shops, and nightlife, no matter where you are in the city, as well as so much culture and history throughout. The city itself is absolutely fantastic, and the IES program gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy the city and explore new areas. They give you a lot of freedom, but still organize activities to help you get acclimated to living abroad and give you opportunities to get to know the people in your program

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

IES Amsterdam -- spring 2016

I was abroad in Amsterdam during the Spring of 2016 through IES Abroad's Study in Amsterdam program. I had an amazing semester between exploring Amsterdam's numerous museums, biking through the canals and traveling throughout Europe. Through IES, I stayed in an international students' dorm only ten minutes away from the city center and the University of Amsterdam. I took classes through the University of Amsterdam and studied Dutch with an IES instructor, which introduced me to Dutch culture and a new perspective on political and social issues. While it was challenging to be away from home and my friends for a semester, spending a semester in Amsterdam was a truly rewarding and gratifying experience. With the support from the program staff and my fellow students, I had an unforgettable four months in one of the most beautiful and interesting places in Europe.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Great expectations

Amsterdam in the spring is anything but spring. The constant wind, the aggressive rain. Coming from sunny California, I wasn’t prepared to be in a constant state of... damp. We all have a picture perfect vision of our destinations. For me it was riding a cherry red bike through the entrance to the Rijksmuseum, hair flowing through the wind.
First off, my bike was blue. “VU University” printed on one side with a big pink crate attached to the front. The wind wasn’t so much flowing through my hair as it was blowing it into a messy nest. Secondly, I biked so many more places than the Rijksmuseum. I rode though the very scary and populated Central Station, over canals and through small neighborhoods, along long stretches of farms, through the rain, into the night and away.
Study abroad, so I’ve heard, is rarely what we expect it to be. I have come to find my experience was vastly different than what I expected, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Stroopwafels and street canals

Spending a semester in Amsterdam with the IES Study Abroad program was one of the most culturally enriching and impactful experiences I have had in college so far! Amsterdam is a truly incredible city that has something for nearly anyone to fall in love with, whether it's biking along the canals, sipping fresh mint tea in a cozy cafe, spending time in one of the countless museums, or grabbing a beer with friends at a local brewery. Even though I didn't know anyone upon arrival, the IES program provided many opportunities to meet and bond with other students from the US and by the end of the term I had come to know most of them on a personal level, as well as make some lifelong friends. With excellent academics, cultural immersion, and personalized support, I highly recommend choosing the IES Study in Amsterdam program for anyone who is looking for both an intellectually stimulating and adventure-filled semester abroad.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A Semester in Amsterdam

My time in Amsterdam, while short, was packed full of learning both in and out of the classroom. I took all my classes at the University of Amsterdam, though I had the option to include IES courses as well. The classes I took during my semester abroad were International Development, Youth Cultures, and Mindfulness. These classes required a lot less time and attention than my classes at my home university, but were engaging and allowed me to interact with students from all over the world. I felt like my studies did not take up the majority of my time in Amsterdam, leaving me with full days of biking around the city, discovering new cafes, picnicking (on sunny days) in parks, and getting to know other students. I took advantage of several IES field trip opportunities, which were nice ways to adventure to new places with a group of people I felt comfortable around. My time abroad taught me about independence, as the IES administration members were not overbearing, and provided sufficient information regarding fun things to do around the city without overloading my inbox. I'm really happy with the way my IES abroad experience turned out, and know that I have learned things and met people in Amsterdam that I will remember forever.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Study in Amsterdam Program - Fall Semester

The program I was enrolled in allowed me to take some classes at the University of Amsterdam as well as with professors teaching at the IES centre. (Classes I took: Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Amsterdam, Dutch Language and Culture, Conflict Studies, Global and Local Complexity of Prostitution) The classes were very interesting and diverse, allowing me to understand the culture and surroundings of Amsterdam and Europe better. They were not as challenging as my classes at my home school, and they required a lot less time than I was used to.
The city itself was a wonderful classroom. There is so much to do and see, from museums to galleries to cafes to canals. IES was helpful in getting me settled in to the city. The newsletters they sent out usually recommended different places and events around the city that I probably would not have heard about otherwise. They also had some great field trips that provided opportunities to see new places around the Netherlands.
Overall, though my time in Amsterdam was short, it was packed full of inspiration and eye opening experiences. I definitely recommend it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Amazing Amsterdam Adventure

IES Abroad Study in Amsterdam provided an opportunity to engage with the city of Amsterdam while also meeting Dutch and fellow international students through the enrollment option at the University of Amsterdam. The program encouraged cultural engagement via trips outside of Amsterdam and worked hard to give students the know-how to really enjoy their time abroad. That being said, this program provided a lot of independence which allowed for individual exploration but sometimes allowed participants (myself included) to not explore and learn as much as we could have. The living situation of studio apartments allowed for interactions with program members while also meeting new people from a variety of different backgrounds. Amsterdam is a very international city and IES Abroad definitely encouraged participants to engage with the city and the Netherlands as much as possible. Biking in the city was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to meet people from a variety of backgrounds while also having the opportunity to travel both within the Netherlands and to other countries as well. As far as abroad experiences go, I think this one was fantastic.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Rewarding Music Program

In Amsterdam, I was enrolled as a jazz trumpet student at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. This is truly a great school to study your interests in the area of jazz and explore new styles and tastes. My course schedule allowed me plenty of time for practice (big practice rooms), attending jam sessions, and some more tourist-y activities. I got a strong impression that my instructors sincerely cared about my musical development. They helped me to become more fluent in technique, expression, and adapting to new situations. Amsterdam is a city friendly to musicians and there is a great culture of musical excellence.
The living situation (apartment) is only a 5-10 minute bike ride to the conservatory, which is situated not far from the center of Amsterdam. I had one roommate in a room with a bathroom, kitchen, and extra storage space. Compared to a typical dorm, the room is quite spacious. Our hot water did go out a couple times, but this was easily taken care of with the help of the RAs. I found out shortly after arriving that many conservatory students ride their bikes 30-40 mins to and from their rooms, so I felt really fortunate with our housing.
The IES office staff were delightful to work with. They communicate, via email newsletters, upcoming activities in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, as well as pieces of Dutch history and other tid-bits about the people and culture. There are also opportunities to go on some great field trips sponsored by IES. I participated in the overnight trip to the island Texel and attended a soccer match.
Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in studying at one of Europe's and the World's finest music schools.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Study Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the best cities to study abroad in in Europe. The people are friendly (and almost all speak English) and it is a city with a rich international history. It is easy to be a foreigner in the city and explore another culture. Amsterdam is incredibly easy to navigate by bike-museums, restaurants, and nightlife are all just a short ride away. The city provides many varying opportunities, while still being a relatively small European city. After 4 months I still feel as if there are a million things I never got to experience. However, while I loved my time in Amsterdam and learned a lot, I do not feel as if I really experienced Dutch culture. As a result of living with so many other American students it is easy to interact only with them and not get out and become immersed in the Dutch culture. Additionally, taking classes through IES and participating in activities at the center encourages spending time only with other American students on the program. Meeting Dutch students and really immersing yourself in the culture requires a great deal of effort. While classes at the University of Amsterdam are available, the classes tend to consist of mainly international students and few Dutch students. At the beginning of the semester my coursework was extremely easy but toward the end it became more challenging. If you are looking for an academic challenge while studying abroad IES Amsterdam is likely not the best choice. However, if you want to travel to other European countries like I did, the easy academics leave a lot of free time for travel and exploring the city.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

AMAZING Experience

This past semester, I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Overall, it was truly an amazing experience. Amsterdam is a city full of life and culture, and to get to explore such an enriched city was an opportunity I will never forget. The IES Center was only a five minute bike ride from my apartment, which definitely enhanced my experience. I was able to go there when I needed advice about my travels, living situation, or anything related to my study abroad experience. The women at the center were kind, knowledgeable and responsive when I had problems or questions. At times, I felt like the program could've been better organized. I felt like there was confusion about what was expected of us as students.
Something I really enjoyed about IES specifically was their planned excursions. Students had the opportunity to sign up for as many (or as few) excursions as they wanted. Personally, I signed up for almost all of them because they all seemed very interesting. Also, many of the excursions were to locations and activities that I wouldn't necessarily have visited on my own. It was so nice to have the excursions pre-planned so all I had to do was show up and participate. One of my favorite excursions was to an island called Texel, which is north of Amsterdam. To get there we had to take a train, bus, and a ferry, but it was well worth the trek. The island itself was beautiful, and small, so we traveled by bike for the entire weekend. We went on a shrimp boat tour and to the seal protection center. The views were incredible, and the company was unforgettable. If this excursion hadn't been an option, I never would have taken the time to visit Texel. But thankfully, it was because it ended up being one of my best weekends abroad.
Overall, my experience was unforgettable. I cannot wait to travel back to Amsterdam to visit the beautiful canals, the amazing shops, the delicious food, and the overall alluring atmosphere.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Amsterdam Pre-Law Program

All of the great friends I made shaped all of my memories. I cannot pick one memory in particular that was the greatest. All of my travels outside the Netherlands were particularly memorable and outstanding. Being able to ride a bike everywhere was great and its something I now miss in the States. And of course relaxing with friends overlooking canal houses while eating dutch french fries was always enjoyable as well!

I chose IES Abroad Amsterdam Pre-Law Certificate Program because I was particularly interested in studying law. Since I was contemplating law school it was a great choice to get a feel for the subject by taking some intro to law classes. Amsterdam was also a city that I had heard all marvelous reviews about! I liked the location and the fact that there was no real language barrier.

We were set up in small apartments about 10 minutes out of the city center. They were safe and in a good location. All accommodations were nice enough. It was particularly great that our whole program was in the same apartment complex.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Amsterdam Pre-Law Program

I had no problems with IES abroad. They were easy to communicate with and solved any problems they were confronted with. Although the program was small I think they did the most they could to ensure the students got the most out of it. The academics at the University of Amsterdam were good. It would have been nice to have a bit more overlap with the Dutch students as well as more international students.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Academics

    7

Enlightening 4 Months of My Life

My most memorable experience was getting to interview a transsexual male for my Gender Studies class. This experience taught me so much about what life is, what it means to be a human and to be happy in the life we are given. I never in a million years would have had this opportunity in the States. I originally went into the interview as a requirement for an assignment, but left the interview with another friend.

I chose the Study Amsterdam program for a couple of different reasons. 1) I wanted to go where no one else at my school had gone before; I wanted to go to one of the less popular and less traveled places. Everyone from my school goes to Spain or London; I wanted to go somewhere different. 2) I didn't want to deal with an extreme language barrier and I knew that almost everyone in the Netherlands spoke English, and I was right. Even the people at gas stations speak English....not knowing Dutch wasn't an issue at all. 3) I wanted to test myself. I'm from a conservative part of the US where everyone believes in God and gay people are still looked down on. I wanted to test my beliefs and establish values and ideas for my own self...so I went to one of the most liberal places in the world and I couldn't have been happier with my results.

Everyone in the program lived in the same building, which was really nice, along with other international students as well, from different programs, different countries, etc. I shared one room and one bathroom with another girl, as well as one kitchen type area. The rooms are a little cold and bare, but we spiced it up as much as we could, and when you are in the room as little as we were, it didn't really matter.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Most Enlightening 4 Months of My Life!

I could go on and on about my experience in Amsterdam...and I tend to do so most of the time! Overall, my experience is one that I will never forget. From the friendships I made, to the experiences I had; traveling the world and discovering so many new things about myself and my life; studying abroad is an invaluable experience. The Study Amsterdam program is relatively up and coming, so there are still a few glitches that the team is trying to work out, but overall, I had the best time. The advisors were so supportive and encouraging; they were always there to help if we needed anything, from a doctor to a hair cut. They were so friendly and genuinely cared about our experience in their beautiful city. They took us on so many difficult field trips and were always encouraging us to get out and explore. My teachers through the program became like my second parents while I was abroad; loving and always concerned with my well being. I couldn't have hoped for a better experience.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Great experience!

Amsterdam is a wonderful city, and UvA offered challenging courses that helped me to grow academically. The coursework was not easy, which I appreciate now that it's over. I took classes on Human Trafficking, Sexuality and Gender in The Netherlands, and Masculinity (all of which I would not be able to find at my home university). The field trips offered by IES were a great way to get exposed to the Dutch culture, too! Overall, it was the kind of porgram where you get out of it what you put into it.