Georgia - University of Amsterdam

B Biomedical Science / B Science
Winter 2023
I learnt how to be more open-minded and communicate with people from different backgrounds than me.


In doing this experience, I hoped to be exposed to an area of psychology that I had never delved into before. I also wanted to visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

Personal Development

From this experience, I gained a great understanding of the topics of mindfulness and compassion and learnt to apply them to my daily life. I made many friends from around the world, and it was super interesting to learn about different cultures and life experiences. The course group became very close over the three weeks, and we created a safe space to share our feelings and opinions throughout the experience.

Academic Development

It was super interesting to learn about meditation, as it is something that I have heard a lot about but never really been educated on. It was challenging to balance doing the course 5 days a week and trying to explore the city. The course was genuinely hard work, and required a large time demand even after class. My advice to future students on exchange would be to go to the city a week or so earlier and try and explore as much as possible before their course starts. Condensing an entire course into three weeks was a large workload. We were in class every day Monday to Friday, then we had to do a lot of readings every night, as well as three assignments. However, because it was such an interesting topic, I was very motivated to do the work. I just wish I had more time to explore! One thing I noticed about the summer school, is that it was focused primarily on the student and prioritised them over everything else. While UQ is focused on exams, and can be very harsh when it comes to missing deadlines, the UvA was focused on the work we could produce, and took into account our personalities and the effort we put in. I found this to be very different and I really liked the student-focused approach. Another challenge was that the course overlapped with the start of my UQ university semester. This was extremely stressful as I had to work on both courses at once. To overcome this, I just decided to download all of my lectures and watch them on the plane back from Amsterdam. This went mildly well, but I mostly just caught up on everything when I got back. It was definitely worth exploring the University of Amsterdam and learning about future Master's programs I could attend.

Professional Development

I learnt how to be more open-minded and communicate with people from different backgrounds than me. Everyone has a different skill-set, as well as unique cultures and experiences that really enriched my learning over the program. I learnt to navigate my way around alone in a foreign city, which may be useful for future employment opportunities. Doing this course has made me more confident as a person, as well as more confident in my career choices. I believe that this course will increase my employability because it shows that I have gone out of my way to explore opportunities in psychology on an international level. Further, because the course is so unique, it has given me unique skills and interests in the fields of mindfulness and compassion which may help open more doors in the future.


Travelling to Europe is incredibly expensive, and without help from my parents I just wouldn't have been able to do it without going thousands of dollars into debt. The course was $2593, the housing was $1215, the flights were $3000, and I probably spent $1500 on food and other activities. Luckily the accommodation provided a kitchen, which made food cost a lot less. I received a small amount of funding, but not much. Honestly, my advice is to have a good source of income, parents, or be prepared to go into debt if you want to travel to Europe for something like this.


I received a grant of $1000, which was used to contribute towards my $3000 flights, but I would have liked to have the full costs of my flight covered. It really didn't stretch very far, considering how much the overall cost was. It was definitely nice to receive something from the university, but I did wish that I qualified for any of the other scholarships.


My housing was organised through the summer school. This was great because it meant that most people in the course lived together, and we could all travel to class together in the morning. Unfortunately, the accommodation was not very clean. Mine seemed to be fine, but apparently others' rooms were filthy, apparently it was only as clean as the previous tenant had left it. There was a kitchen and bathroom in every room which was amazing, though. Overall, I would say that it is so much easier to just go through the university to find accommodation.


The highlight of my experience was making friends from other countries. Sharing stories about our cultures and backgrounds, and how that impacted what we want to do with our lives was super inspiring. It made me realise that I don't have to have it all figured out right now. It also helped me to broaden my world view. Often we get caught up in our own little bubble, but this experience has made me realise that the world is so much bigger. The course itself was also super interesting and I would highly recommend it.

Advice/Top Tips

My top advice would be to go to your country early and explore as much as you can before the course starts. Or, to stay later after the course finishes and make the most of your travel. I would also advise people to only choose a course that they are passionate about, because that will drive you to complete the heavy workload in such a short time. I would highly recommend overseas travel to anyone that can afford it.