IES Abroad Amsterdam - Social Sciences & Humanities

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About

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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 20 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 20
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Cara
9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tony
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Caitlin
10/10

Amsterdam for the Semester

Looking back, I can't believe I had the privilege to spend 4 months in such an incredible semester. Spending the spring semester of my junior year in Amsterdam was the best decision I've made thus far. The city is vibrant, the culture is rich, and there's always something new to do. I stayed in an apartment with a roommate about 15 minutes outside of the city center, and only a 6 minute bike ride to the IES center. It was nice living in an apartment with students from around the world. My classes gave me insight into Dutch culture and offered me global insight. IES also offered us trips to other cities in the Netherlands, such as Maastricht and Utrecht. It was so wonderful to be able to explore Amsterdam, as well as the whole country of the Netherlands! I wouldn't trade my experience for anything, and if I could go back, I would in a heartbeat!

Yes, I recommend
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Maria
10/10

A Dam Good Time

I spent my fall semester studying abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands with IES. Prior to this experience, I had traveled several times with my family, but never alone. I was terrified of being somewhere completely new, not knowing anyone and having the worst navigational skills imaginable. Regardless, I went into the experience with an open mind and about seven GPS apps on my phone. It took me a little while to get adjusted, but my program ensured that we were as prepared as possible. The moment I got my bike, I felt completely in control. I could go wherever I wanted, and I was able to explore the city in the most unique and optimal way. Everyone I met in Amsterdam was absolutely incredible, and I’m still in contact with so many of the friends I made at IES. Getting pushed out of your comfort zone is truly the only way to grow and develop. There were times when I felt uncertain and hesitant, but these were the moments in which I learned the most about myself. I valued every single aspect of my abroad experience, and I could not recommend it more to anyone curious about exploring the world and themselves. Amsterdam is my second home, and I miss it every day. Sure, the touristy components were great, but nothing replaces the feeling of finding an obscure little cafe in the nook of a canal road. Biking around the city and listening to my favorite songs is a feeling that I couldn’t describe, even if I tried. My time abroad was liberating, eye-opening, and indispensable.

Yes, I recommend
Abz
10/10

Amsterdam, The Best City in the World

Studying in Amsterdam with IES wasn't just a life changing experience, it was preparation for life after graduation and acceptance of a new life style and culture. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have chosen another program or location. I met tons of other study abroad students from various countries who said they loved their program, but Amsterdam was their favorite city they had visited. When I asked them questions, some of those students also mentioned how they wouldn’t live in their host country, and some also said they were happy, but would be ready for a change of pace once home. One of my best friends from study abroad is actually a returned study abroad student who came back to live in Amsterdam! Everyone who I studied with in Amsterdam out of my friend group, Erasmus, etc. all wants to come back and live. None of us found a city better than Amsterdam while traveling either. Most people say Amsterdam is the best city in Europe, but study abroad really showed me how incredible The Netherlands really is. So don’t be discouraged because I chose a program as the only student from my home school, so I didn't know anyone on the program when I arrived. And I ended up finding a home away from home.

The orientation week, along with International Student Network's UvA orientation made me feel right at home while just starting out in The Netherlands. The staff were incredible over the whole semester, so I highly recommend IES. When my wallet was stolen, I was able to replace everything within a week with their help! I will say that this program has staff that are more highly involved, so if you are looking for complete independence you may want to be aware that there will be check-in’s, meetings, etc. over the course of your program with IES.

In terms of course work, studying in Amsterdam at UvA isn’t easy, but it isn’t difficult. It’s just like attending school at your home university, which I really appreciated. I felt challenged in the courses I took, and I felt like I was experiencing new ways of learning. I took a course with IES called Studio Art that allowed me to learn about art in Amsterdam, which helped me to understand the artist scene in the city while integrating into Dutch culture. I made connections with programs and professors that I will use in my professional and graduate school career!

UvA has a great social scene as well. It was easy to make Dutch friends through ISN (their Erasmus). Some people say it’s hard to become part of the Dutch culture, but I didn’t find this was the case. If you spend time learning about the culture, language and people, then you will find integration easier since you will be able to think and act like a local (just a tip). ISN gave me a group of friends, events and weekend trips to attend while on study abroad. It was one of the main reasons I had such an incredible experience. The group of around 400+ students who lived all over the city made me feel at home and made the big city seem small. Every week there was a borrel to attend, or some sort of big weekend event. Then on our own, my group would meet up for potluck dinners, and other events on our own! IES also schedules trips around The Netherlands and to various places in Amsterdam, which I highly suggest.

Beyond school, IES and ISN, Study in Amsterdam had the option to live at The Student Hotel. This was THE BEST decision I made. I paid extra each month to live here: https://www.thestudenthotel.com/amsterdam-city/ It was a whole international student dorm in a central location to the city complete with a free bike, gym, study rooms, restaurants, events, etc. It was like a whole new family of international student. I even had my own studio apartment. It’s right by a Check out the website to see why I loved it so much!

The city of Amsterdam itself has everything you could think of … How I explored the city was by visiting 50 different cafés in Amsterdam over the course of 4 months. I even was able to volunteer and work on two different sustainable/entrepreneurial projects in the city because Amsterdam is a hub for innovation. The city is in prime location to visit most other European countries as well. Name something to do, see or experience and you have it. You can look at this blog and their weekly events newsletters to see a bit of the excitement (http://www.yourlittleblackbook.me/).

Amsterdam is the city of dreams, and I am not doing it justice through just a small review! I fell in love with a culture, people and place I will go back to live in one day. Study abroad didn’t just become a life changing experience for me, it helped me find my home.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ashani
8/10

IES Amsterdam -- Spring 2016

During the spring semester of 2016, I spent an amazing semester abroad in Amsterdam. I decided to study in a place where I knew no one, but could easily communicate without being fluent in the native language. Amsterdam was the perfect fit for me. Studying government and gender studies, University of Amsterdam provided a welcoming and intellectually challenging atmosphere and classes. While I was initially overwhelmed with living in a new place for four months, Amsterdam's smaller size and amazing public transportation/biking system made the city less daunting. I soon became attached to my bike, which is still my favorite way to get around. When I missed home, I had the other students and staff in the program for support and as the perfect people to explore with and enjoy the city. I had plenty of chances to travel throughout Europe, but I always looked forward to coming home to Amsterdam. I'm grateful for the opportunity to live and study abroad for the semester and to IES for making the entire process as seamless as possible.

Yes, I recommend
Indira
10/10

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. One day that particularly stands out to me was near the end of the semester when my Dutch Art History teacher invited the entire class over for tea and appeltaart after taking the final exam. We all climbed on our bikes and followed her to her quaint apartment where we spent a wonderful afternoon chatting, admiring the various pieces of art she had either collected or created herself, but mostly reminiscing on how incredible our abroad experience had been. My time in Amsterdam with IES Abroad was better than I could have ever anticipated, and I absolutely cannot wait until the day I return.

How can this program be improved?
Though I was able to make a few local Dutch friends, I would have appreciated more opportunities to interact with Amsterdam residents whether through short home stays, organized dinners/parties, or other events meant to integrate study abroad students and Dutch locals.
Yes, I recommend
Carli Snyder
Carli
9/10

A Spring in Amsterdam

When I arrived in Amsterdam for my semester abroad, that 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. Throughout the course of the semester, I learned how to adapt to my new surroundings and made many new friends. I was 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.

How can this program be improved?
I think this program could be improved by spreading orientation out a bit more. I remember the first view days being pretty overwhelming with getting off the plane, meeting so many people, doing different activities, moving into our apartments, and trying to buy groceries and school supplies.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Meghna
10/10

A Semester in Amsterdam

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. The people I met through this program became my support system through the semester and still are great friends.
Overall, though my time in Amsterdam was short, it was packed full of inspiration and eye opening experiences. I definitely recommend it!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Charlotte
9/10

Adventures in Amsterdam

The Study in Amsterdam program through IES gave me one of the greatest adventures of my life so far. I experienced more in four short months than I had in both my freshman and sophomore years of college. While the classes I took at the University of Amsterdam were not nearly as challenging or time consuming as my classes at my home university, I still found them to be engaging and they allowed me to interact with not only the Dutch students attending the school, but the students from all over the world as well. Because I only had classes three days a week, I had plenty of time to explore the city of Amsterdam, and to take weekends to travel Europe with new friends. I also took advantage of some of the field trip excursions offered through IES, which were fun ways to hang out with the other American students in my program. The IES administration was very supportive, always ready to help with whatever I needed, and shared information frequently regarding happenings and events around Amsterdam. IES also had a few casual, "check in" group hang outs throughout the semester, in which we discussed our feelings toward topics like initial adjustments, homesickness, and upon leaving, "reverse culture shock." Overall, my study abroad experience was a growing experience, a chance to discover new places, an opportunity to establish friendships internationally, and to fall in love with the city of Amsterdam. My time with IES has left me excited to return to Amsterdam, and I can't wait for that day!

How can this program be improved?
I think more could have been done in terms of group bonding. My program was quite small, and I left feeling like I only really got to know a few of the other people in it. We had just one week toward the beginning of the program, involving mundane orientation activities that I did not feel like allowed for friendships to be established. That said, I cannot say this is the fault of the the program, however I do think more time should have been invested, at the start of the semester, in the program group interaction.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lauren
9/10

Awesome 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.

How can this program be improved?
Personally did not take any classes through the IES classroom so often felt very separate from the program itself. That being said, program worked hard to create a solid foundation and I met a ton of wonderful and amazing people. I very much enjoyed my time in Amsterdam and I would recommend it to anyone who wants an opportunity to engage with Dutch culture and also travel around Europe.
Yes, I recommend
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Matt
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
I lived in a studio apartment with a roommate on my trip, which was fine, but I would have loved it even more if I had a full apartment setting.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ben
10/10

Amazing Amsterdam Experience

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. It was also great to be in a culture where English is the second language. I was able to enhance my interpersonal skills and engage in awkward interactions, but ultimately progressive and positive ones. I can't wait to go back because of such the positive experience I had the first time around.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the length of the program. It seemed to drag out.
Yes, I recommend
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Kiki
10/10

My time 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.

How can this program be improved?
More contact with local students.
Yes, I recommend
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Mark
10/10

Tremendous cultural and academic experience

The IES Amsterdam program offered great academics and support

I took two art history courses and introductory course on gender and sexuality studies. The professors did a fantastic job of engaging the class through excursions and guest lecturers. I learned a great deal from the courses and at no point felt overworked.

In terms of support, the staff was very responsive to emails. They helped me make sure that my academic schedule worked out and that I could take the courses that I needed to. Additionally, the office was very close to our apartment building and, thus, the staff was incredibly accessible.

How can this program be improved?
The program could try and improve the connection between students in the program and students at the University of Amsterdam.
Yes, I recommend

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...