Micaela - University of Amsterdam

B Psychological Science
Semester 2, 2018
Students always say exchange was the greatest experience of their life, and that creates very high expectations, and yet I still feel my experience exceeded my expectations.

Academic experience

I studied three psychology subjects and one international student aimed course, dutch studies during my exchange. I found the smaller class sizes and closer relationship with the lecturer very helpful while navigating the different educational system. I found the difference in assignment expectations troubling, but after talking to domestic students and conferring with teachers I overcame these. UvA has a very easy enrolment process, there are less contact hours than at UQ so there was no stressful tutorial sign-on process.

Personal experience

I think the most I gained from my exchange experience was the friendships made, both through the university exchange programs and my own student housing. The friendships made were so rewarding and I'm so grateful to have made them. Additionally, I took advantage of my new friendships and traveled to new places with new people. The Netherlands is a beautiful country and I'm glad I was able to take the time to explore the smaller regions. Amsterdam has a large airport that has cheap flights to many cities across Europe, and other countries that are reachable by train so travel is easy and reasonably priced.

Accommodation

During my exchange I lived off-campus, but due to the university being spread throughout the city there were no on-campus options. I arranged my housing through the university the system (DeKey specifically) which was stress free and simple. I specifically chose shared housing to meet more people. It was the best decision of my exchange, all of my house-mates were amazing people and friends for life. I would definitely recommend choosing shared housing, there is a higher chance of meeting amazing like-minded people

Costs

In Amsterdam I paid €403 p/m for rent, €15-20 p/w for groceries, I paid €80 for my bike, which I was able to sell at the end of semester for €50. Travel just during the semester ranged from about $3500-4000, although I did more travel than most.

Challenge

My biggest challenge was overcoming my shame of only being able to speak English to anyone, being in such an international city, not only does everyone speaker English and Dutch, but some also one or two more languages. I overcame this with help from my friends who explained that speaking to a native English speaker helped them correct their mistakes.

Professional Development

I gained confidence in myself and my personal capabilities, which has allowed me to take on more challenges in life.

Highlight

The highlight of my exchange was the life-long friendships I made.

Top tips

- Buy/rent a bike
- Organise your accommodation through the university, and stay on top of the deadlines
- Join ISN and the Introduction Week activity
- Make friends!