CIEE Social Sciences + Humanities in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Bring your interest in Dutch language, society, politics, and culture to this progressive, multicultural city for coursework across social science and humanities in English at CIEE Amsterdam and our cosmopolitan partner, University of Amsterdam (UvA). Select from Dutch language learning at the Dutch Language Institute (INTT) which is part of UvA and courses across disciplines including anthropology, European studies, film studies, history, international relations, media, psychology, sociology, urban studies, and more. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

  • Get around by bike – it’s the Dutch way – and the best way to get a closer perspective of this multicultural city.
  • Get a multinational perspective on everything you study by working side by side with the international student body at University of Amsterdam.
  • Live like the locals by taking a bike tour, attending a special exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, or another world-class institution.

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We know cost is one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At CIEE, we dedicate real resources to help break down the cost barriers so every student who wants to study abroad, can do so.

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Questions & Answers


9 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best choice for a semester in Western Europe!

I studied abroad with CIEE this past fall in Amsterdam. I was impressed by how receptive and helpful the staff in the Amsterdam office were, and I really built a strong connection with them. I participated in CIEE teach, I was a member of the Student Representative Council, and I participated in a homestay up one weekend up north in Groningen - these are examples of my favorite activities that I got to do as a CIEE student. My favorite memory was through CIEE teach, when my Dutch students said goodbye to my friends and I by performing a dance for us and giving us chocolates for their Sinterklaas holiday.

CIEE was very helpful during orientation (and after) in getting us accustomed to how the UvA operates. I also took courses with CIEE, as they had a more familiar grading standard. Both my UvA and CIEE courses were challenging, and it was cool learning about European politics and social policies while living there. As far as housing goes, that is the factor that influenced me choosing this program - CIEE guarantees housing in Amsterdam, which is an incredible promise that they uphold for students, since the housing market in Amsterdam is very competitive. I stayed in a single with a full size bed and private bathroom in The Student Hotel Amsterdam West, which was a ~25 minute bike ride from UvA. I loved this experience, the friends I made through it, and the memories I created will be cherished forever -- and I didn't go in thinking this is how I'd feel. Trust me, the folks at CIEE really did their best in shaping this experience for me and 90+ other students, and they are always receptive to improvements. If you're looking for a program thats challenging, with good staff support, independent housing, and in a central location for European travel, this program is for you.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I tried herring for the first (and last) time in the Hague. It wasn't my favorite, but if I didn't have to fend off the seagulls in 35 degree Fahrenheit weather, I might have enjoyed it more...#justDutchthings
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Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Semester in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an incredible choice for abroad: while there are a lot of cultural values and practices similar to American culture, it allows for critical reflection and comparison on both places. The classes are really well done and suited to the needs of American students while providing the invaluable experience of taking classes alongside Dutch students at the University of Amsterdam. The program is incredibly well run, and the staff is always there to help. Amsterdam is a gateway to many countries in Europe, although there is so much to see in the Netherlands itself. They also have incredible programming outside of the classes itself, like day trips, DEI discussions, and cultural activities, alongside the ISN program at the University of Amsterdam that fills in the gaps. It is 100% a city-based program, which many people forget, so there is a commute and there isn't a true campus like many schools in the U.S., which is a change, but further allowed me the freedom and exploratory opportunities that I wanted.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Travel as much as you can within the Netherlands. Amsterdam is becoming a more global city by the day, and to get a real taste of Dutch culture, it is important to explore. The train system is super easy to use, and from Amsterdam, the furthest it takes you to any major city is about 3 hours. I made it a point to visit every province in the Netherlands (there are 12) and each taught me a different lesson and shared different insights into what it means to be Dutch.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing 4 months!

Amsterdam is such an amazing city and I am so glad I came on this CIEE program this semester. CIEE staff was very helpful and supportive throughout my time in Amsterdam. They also planned fun and interesting excisions for us throughout the semester. For my semester in Amsterdam, I chose to live with a host family. Living with a host family allowed me to learn so much about Dutch culture and feel more comfortable during my time here. I was able to travel around Europe and throughout the Netherlands. These past four months have helped me learn so much about myself and the world around me. I have experienced so many amazing thing and seen so many beautiful places. I have made friends and memories to last a lifetime. While I am sad that the semester is coming to a close, I know that this will not be my last time in this city that I now feel so connected to.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Take Risks, Expand, Grow

This program is absolutely amazing! I had the privilege of staying with a host family, which made my experience a lot better. My favorite memory would be sitting at the dinner table and eating with my host family and their friends. It allowed me to learn a lot about the culture in the Netherlands and to share my culture with them as well. Future participants should know that Amsterdam has a lot to do and they should take advantage of it. Go out and explore, there is so much to see! However, be careful not to overwhelm yourself, remember that studies are important too. I arrived back from the program not too long ago but I know that my life post-program will be affected in a positive way. I feel more open to change and experiences and that helps me grow as a person. I would advise keeping a journal. I did not do it but I wish I had. I would also advise keeping a budget for expenses. Separate your budget by categories: daily expenses, travel, shopping, etc. It will help you be aware of what you have and what you can spend. Most of all enjoy the experience to the fullest! It is a once in a lifetime experience

What would you improve about this program?
The structure of the CIEE courses could be improved. At times it felt like the program was not really aware of the way the individual classes were run. For the most part, I made it work out but at times it was difficult to get in touch with a professor or to have all the work for a class online and easily available.
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Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Amsterdam

I had an incredible time in Amsterdam Spring 2018! The CIEE staff was helpful when they needed to be, and I made incredible friends. I was in a location where I got to travel all over Europe, which made up some of my favorite experiences. The academics were really interesting and my teachers were innovative and understanding. Amsterdam is such an unbelievable city and I would HIGHLY recommend this program to anyone looking for a great time!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Go Abroad!!!

CIEE is pretty organized. They had very detailed pre arrival orientation. They picked us up from the airport when we arrived and took us to the hostel where we were staying. The first week was orientation with a lot of opportunities to get to know each other, I appreciated that. I felt supported throughout the semester. The CIEE Amsterdam staff are amazing. They had several events planned out for us. University of Amsterdam is great, I enjoyed the classes I took. It also has a beautiful campus.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish we were housed in the student hotel in the city centre instead of the one in Amsterdam West, it was much more central. I also wish we were given travel passes for the Netherlands instead of just Amsterdam, this would make it a lot easier to travel the Netherlands, and explore more places. They should also give museum cards like IES. Otherwise, I loved the program. I liked that I lived with other CIEE students in the student hotel, I got to know them pretty well.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Something for Everyone

CIEE has done a great job catering to students of all types with their Amsterdam program.
On the academic side, there are a wide variety of classes in many disciplines to choose from, including unique offerings from CIEE, such as Beginning Dutch. CIEE does a solid job of communicating with you throughout the application and enrollment processes, so you always know what you need to do next.
As far as encouraging engagement with Dutch culture goes, CIEE is also great. Students can experience the city on their own, but for those who aren't as motivated, CIEE has many planned activities, ranging from museum visits and book clubs to overnights in other locales such as the city of Utrecht or the island of Schiermonnikoog. As an added bonus, CIEE's partnership with the International Student Network gives students access to even more fun events at low prices, including trips to other European countries.
If I could go through the process of choosing a study away organization and program again, I would be hard pressed to find something better than CIEE's Amsterdam program. It offers something for everyone, and that means a good experience can be had by all.

What would you improve about this program?
There are a large number of mandatory meetings about health, safety, culture, etc. to attend, some of which repeat information.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging but worthwhile

Studying abroad was a decision I almost made on a whim. I had only left the US a couple times before and for brief periods of time, so the move to Amsterdam for four months was a big change in my day-to-day life. Going with CIEE was one of the better decisions I made. They helped a lot with the paperwork of applying to study/live in the Netherlands as well as housing and getting into classes, so I highly recommend them for that. The staff for CIEE Amsterdam are fantastic people. The second you arrive they make you feel so welcome. All of them are very knowledgeable and helped calm our concerns before arriving with two live-streams to answer questions and go over the agenda for arrival.

Upon arrival, you'll be picked up by some CIEE staff to take you to your hostel for a couple days of orientation. These first two days are a great way to make some friends and know some faces before you're thrown into the ISN introduction week. If I'll be honest, the ISN week was tough. I barely felt like I was settled before we were being taken all over the city 'til late hours. Sure partying is fun, but when you don't know many people and you have nothing setup in your apartment, it's a little awkward. Obviously the timing can't be helped too much and it's not CIEE's fault, but that was probably my only concern with arrival/orientation.

CIEE the program was great. The excursions are soooo much fun and well worth taking advantage of (especially the overnight trips!) Schiermonnikoog was my absolute favorite part of the CIEE Amsterdam program, hands down. CIEE also hosts numerous "clubs" that meet to try different activities, games, book discussions, or trying different foods. I didn't do too many, but the ones that I did were loads of fun (bouldering became a new hobby of mine). My CIEE classes were very informative and gave me enough to work with while not being overwhelming. Bonny and Annabel were my two CIEE teachers; both of them were great. Beginning Dutch and Intercultural Communcations gave me a perspective of Dutch culture that I greatly appreciated both in my time over there as well as post study abroad. They also planned some fun excursions such as visiting an authentic Amsterdam canal house or visiting a voting booth on election day.

I also recommend taking advantage of the weekend home-stay that CIEE offers (included!) If you're staying in a dorm, it's a great way to gain some insight into Dutch lifestyle and culture. My home-stay was in Arnhem, NL. CIEE pays for your train ticket and I ended up being able to stay with my host family for two nights. I got to see the sites of historic WW2 battles that were fought during Operation Market Garden in and around Arnhem as well as see the production tulip fields in Noordoostpolder in Flevoland. Homemade Dutch food was also a massive bonus :)

My UvA classes were alright, but generally I felt underwhelmed with them. Some of it was the difference in academic environment from my home university, some of it was my awkward "this isn't my major" feeling since I was mostly taking elective classes during my study abroad. Overall they weren't bad, just not what I was expecting either.

Housing was alright. The location couldn't be better (I was in Prins Hendrikkade dorms) which are just outside of the city center. The accommodations were slightly underwhelming. My kitchen came with nothing and had no freezer or oven. My room was clean and comfortable though, so I can't complain there.

Top recommendations for things to do while studying in Amsterdam:
1. Get a bike. Learn how to ride if you don't know how, but seriously get a bike. Two locks, two lights, and awareness of your surroundings and you're ready to go. Biking in the city is so much fun and soooo much easier than dealing with public transit (which is still pretty good here). I recommend either renting one or finding a decent used one for sub 80 euros (any more than that and you're just overpaying for four months).

2. Try the various cafes and markets in Amsterdam. Waterlooplein is a great flea market and I highly recommend Two for Joy Coffee Roasters, Sweet Cup, and Lot Sixty One for some great third-wave home roasted coffee.

3. Travel around the Netherlands! Europe is awesome too, but if you spend all your time planning a trip around Europe, you'll miss out on the amazing Dutch towns and cities. Delft, Utrecht, Maastricht, and Haarlem were among my favorite that I visited. They're super easy to reach by train, though if you and your bike are up to it there's also bike "highways" between all of the main cities in the Netherlands.

4. Don't be afraid of being alone. If you spend your whole time worrying about not being alone, you'll lose a lot of sleep over nothing. Find your groove and your people. Try new things. Studying abroad isn't just posting cool instagram pictures, it's a time to learn more about yourself and the world around you.

My overall feeling about studying abroad in Amsterdam (in general) is that I would do it again. I would've made more of an effort to put myself out there in the first few weeks and make friends though. I struggled being alone a lot in the Netherlands both in travel and in day-to-day activities. Being away from my support system of my family and friends at home was big challenge for me. If you decide to study abroad (in any capacity), be ready for this.

What would you improve about this program?
Allowing time for getting settled before the ISN week? I'm not sure how you could change this, but I just felt very out of place coming into that week. No bike, no dishes, no food, no debit card. It just felt all very off for the first week or two until I got this stuff together. Not that this is totally a bad thing (woo learning independence!) but it gave me a weird start to the program.

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