IES Abroad Amsterdam – Social Sciences & Humanities

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Video and Photos

Keukenhof gardens - Tulipmania!
Home away from home
Dutch swimmers!
Cheering for the Dutch soccer team


Study abroad in Amsterdam for the educational adventure of a lifetime. The city’s heritage of world-class institutions and rich culture make it the perfect place to spend your semester abroad.

Our Study in Amsterdam Program takes advantage of the city's unique balance of history and contemporary culture, and lets you structure your studies at the prestigious Universiteit van Amsterdam and at the IES Abroad Center. Several courses include hands-on components to help you explore the city of Amsterdam and its surroundings while learning about the city's past and present.

When you study abroad, Amsterdam becomes your classroom. Study Amsterdam’s past as you explore the city’s historic landmarks, such as Anne Frank’s home, the Rembrandt House, or the Van Gogh museum. You will also have the opportunity to study the future of the Netherlands as you learn about the country’s forward-thinking public policies. All this and more awaits you in Amsterdam.


IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

It definitely is more business casual on a daily basis. People do not wear leggings and athleisure wear in Amsterdam the way we do in America. Lots of denim and printed pants. Very H&M and Zara vibes.


9.58 Rating
based on 26 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 26
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Yes, I recommend this program

IES Amsterdam Encourages Exploration

IES Abroad Amsterdam is a great hybrid between a direct enrollment option and an American study abroad parent program. I was fortunate enough to take classes at the University of Amsterdam and with guest professors at the IES Center. The IES liasons to the university were very helpful and accessible, but as a whole I wish I'd spent more time at the university itself, and some people on my program didn't have any classes there at all. The IES workers planned free social gatherings in the city for us, as well as mental health breaks like yoga classes and paid field trips, like to see the Dutch National Football Team and spending a weekend in Belgium, to help us get to know the area. They were always available in case of emergency and helped those who needed medical support.

Amsterdam is a great place to go for a semester abroad because it's very easy to travel around Europe from the city by bus, train, or plane, and the Netherlands is a wonderful country to explore. Amsterdam itself is huge, but IES made sure to place me in an apartment close to my university and was willing to help me acquire a bike to travel the city, which is by far the most-used means of transportation. Dutch adults are usually fluent in English, so even if you don't take a Dutch course, you'll be able to get around fine – though I strongly suggest trying to pick up some Dutch, which will require a lot of effort because of the prevalence of English.

Grading in the Netherlands is very harsh, and students don't have GPAs at the universities, so be prepared for a very different academic sphere. Many classes base the overwhelming majority of their final grades on a single final exam or project, which is very intimidating. I enjoyed all of my classes and professors, both in and out of the university.

Amsterdam is an expensive city, especially near the center. Groceries are a good price, but going out to eat or grab a cup of coffee can be costly. Bring your own cold medicine and pain medications, because you will have trouble finding those things in the Netherlands. I wish more advice like that was given to me pre-departure, but after the first couple weeks I figured everything out. IES makes sure to send a newsletter with events around the city every two weeks so we have plenty to explore. Overall, a very well-organized, well-run, kind program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open with your questions, and be excited to learn more about the country you're living in. Don't just stay in Amsterdam – explore the Netherlands, Europe, and yourself. If you do stay in Amsterdam, see ALL of the city, because it's absolutely huge. It's meant to be biked and walked all over, and exists for learners – go to the museums!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Opportunities around every canal!

IES Amsterdam was the most incredible time of my life. This city provided unlimited amounts of opportunities to get involved in the community and explore the in's and out's of this city! The staff was extremely helpful in providing us with the knowledge of what was going on every week and providing options of all different interests and costs. They facilitated our academics, housing and periodic events in new parts of the city to keep us engaged. Amsterdam is unique in that it doesn't look like any other city in the world with the canals and the architecture. Considering how small Amsterdam is, there are so many different pockets to explore and each area has a different vibe to it! Its incredible to be in such a historically significant city and I had an amazing time in Amsterdam and everyday I wish I could go back.

What would you improve about this program?
A more concise packing list and maybe some written expectations of dress code and weather patterns to be better prepared!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Would do it all over again!

Overall, my experience was better than I could have imagined. The classes were fun, engaging and I learned tons of material I would not have back at my home university. The IES teachers were well versed in their subjects and had interesting life experience. It really helped me get a better picture of career options and ways to get there. The program staff was extremely helpful and down to Earth. They were always willing to help but did not try to micromanage everything. They also do a great job of sending out weekly emails to tell you whats going on in the city and ways to get involved. In addition, they send links to tons of volunteer activities that are a way to meet locals and really helped me feel like I was doing something to give back during my free time. It was really nice and helped push the students to be independent! I stayed in a more residential area with tons of families and animals really close to campus which was so convenient. I enjoyed the area but my only wish was to be closer to the action. Like I said, overall, the experience was wonderful and I glad I picked IES.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Study abroad was the best thing I could have ever done

Studying abroad at IES was the best experience of my life. In fact, I had such a good time that it feels like a dream when I remember it, as if it did not even happen to me. The IES staff within Amsterdam were some of the most friendly people I've ever met. Additionally, I experienced the same kindness from the professors who gave lectures through IES. I would definitely recommend studying abroad, and maybe I am biased, but I would further recommend studying abroad in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has a rich history that shines through every city, especially in its architecture and art, as well as liberal practices that are both similar and different to the United States. Only at IES can one expect to find a extreme variety of possible locations and studies. Furthermore, I view the people that I met through IES as a family now, and IES in that way has definitely created lifelong friends.

What would you improve about this program?
More staff! More staff can help any company so I suppose that isn't much feedback. The biggest issue that I experienced while studying abroad that could have been helped was attendance at events. I loved the borrel nights, but i feel like more people could have showed up.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Semester in Amsterdam

There is a reason Amsterdam has a reputation for being a great city. From nightlife to museums to shopping to a combination of modern technology and historic architecture, Amsterdam has it all. Since I grew up in a suburb and go to school in a college town in the United States, I wanted to experience the thrill of a big city, and Amsterdam did just that for me. There is always something to do in Amsterdam, and I wish I had more time to live there and experience everything I missed out on.

What would you improve about this program?
Housing should be in the city center, to allow for easier access (there would be less need for Uber, public transport stops around 1230am) to attractions, nightlife, and better culture immersion. This could also allow for more interaction with students from other Study Abroad programs. I also would have benefitted from a mandatory foreign language requirement to make daily life more interesting, even though most everyone speaks almost fluent English. Also would have enjoyed taking more IES Abroad classes and less at the University of Amsterdam, and more organized/mandatory trips out of the country.
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester Ever!

Studying abroad in Amsterdam was one of the best decisions I have ever made. IES Abroad provided all participants with an extensive orientation program that lasted a few days, and by the end, we all felt exceptionally prepared for anything that happened to us in the city. Our program staff were always willing to answer our questions and provide us with any recommendations for fun cultural activities taking place. Our housing was located remarkably close to the center of the city, and IES was able to help us get discounts on renting bikes for all of us to get around. Biking became a huge part of my life and was one of the most memorable parts of living in Amsterdam. At first biking seemed like it would be a very daunting activity in such a busy city, but the biking infrastructure is incredibly safe for even the most novice of bike riders. Almost everyone on our program grew super comfortable biking through the city, however, even if you didn't want to bike IES provided us with reloadable public transport cards to get around as well. Our program group grew very close and my roommate and I are still very good friends (I'm going to visit her soon!). Alongside taking classes at the IES center, we had the option to take classes at the University of Amsterdam, which was located only 10 minutes away from our housing. My UvA classes were wonderfully insightful, and helped me to explore some new academic areas of interest. IES also organized program-wide field trips and excursions that really helped get us out into the culture of the Netherlands. We went on biking trips to see the tulips and windmills, we went on a weekend trip to Rotterdam to see some cool modern architecture, and we also visited the Delft where we made our own Delft Blue tiles. Now that I'm back home, I miss Amsterdam every single day. I'm so glad that IES was able to give me this opportunity.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My Amsterdam Experience

Amsterdam is a great study to spend an entire semester or even a whole year in. After my first semester was up, I tried to find ways to stay the entire year. The entire IES staff is extremely helpful and friendly. They are always there to answer any questions or concerns you may have. They are your first point of contact when you first get to this new country and they were able to help me with every question I had. IES does a wonderful job at organizing program wide trips and activities. These activities force you to do things you typically would not go out and do on your own, such as several day trips around The Netherlands, outside of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a great place to try new things and make new relationships. It is located centrally in regards to other European countries, making it easy to travel to other countries for just a few days. Overall, the city itself and the IES staff made my experience one I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the housing in this program could be improved. I stayed in a quiet little apartment outside of the center of the city and it was great location and great neighborhood. However, the apartment complex came with some issues. I believe there should have been a better way to match roommates together. It was completely random and it worked out ok, however, maybe a Facebook group before choosing roommates would have been beneficial.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible experience abroad

I had an incredible time on IES Amsterdam - Study in Amsterdam. The support from the IES staff as well as at the University of Amsterdam was more than helpful. I always felt safe and comfortable during my time abroad, and Amsterdam is a very comfortable and homey city. Housing, although sometimes complicated, was also very good. You have the choice of an apartment with a roommate or can do a single room at the Student Hotel. Location wise and the condition of the apartment was great. The only negative was courses being offered. While I enjoyed the classes I ended up taking, it was difficult (near impossible) to take courses I needed. We didn't know what our schedule would be until days after arriving, which can be a negative for certain students. In the end, Amsterdam was the best city to spend four months in and I appreciated all that IES did for us, including organized field trips and tours.