Kyle - University of Amsterdam

B. Laws / Arts

Academic experience

I took this opportunity to take a break from my more intensive law subjects and took solely psychology electives - most of which I found pretty interesting. As far as challenges go, the university had a 'block' system of arranging courses which I found a bit weird at first. Essentially we did 5 courses over the semester, doing two courses each during the first and second blocks and one in the third. It was actually a boon in disguise because it spread the work over a greater period of time, allowing me more time to travel.

Personal experience

I met a ton of people from many different countries throughout my exchange and went to a heap of interesting places. I ended up learning quite a few random words and phrases in different languages from these people - I think I've learned how to say 'cheers!' in at least five different languages. I also ended up learning some basic dutch through osmosis by just being around dutch people.

Accommodation

I lived off-campus in student housing in Diemen (a suburb about 4km out of Amsterdam). It wasn't the worst of places to live, only being about 5 minutes from a shopping centre and train station that went directly to central. But if I could re-live the experience I would definitely try to get somewhere much closer to the city centre where the uni, bars and all the other fun stuff were.

Budget

Rent was about €400 a month for me for a private bedroom with shared amenities, although I saw options for either more expensive or cheaper rooms. For groceries, I tried to (not always successfully) limit myself to about €50 a week although a less extravagant spender will definitely get by with less than that. Provided you get a travel card from one of the machines, the train/tram were around €2 each way to the city but can get very expensive (€12+) if you take it long distances.

I know everyone says this, but definitely get a bike. You can either rent (it was €125 for 5 months for me), or buy one off the street (€100 or less, but the vendors are a bit shady, and you'll have to sell it afterwards). It's a fantastic way to travel around Amsterdam and you'll save money in the long run.

Professional development and employability

Near a nunnery in Delft
Near a nunnery in Delft

Rent was about €400 a month for me for a private bedroom with shared amenities, although I saw options for either more expensive or cheaper rooms. For groceries, I tried to (not always successfully) limit myself to about €50 a week although a less extravagant spender will definitely get by with less than that. Provided you get a travel card from one of the machines, the train/tram were around €2 each way to the city but can get very expensive (€12+) if you take it long distances.

I know everyone says this, but definitely get a bike. You can either rent (it was €125 for 5 months for me), or buy one off the street (€100 or less, but the vendors are a bit shady, and you'll have to sell it afterwards). It's a fantastic way to travel around Amsterdam and you'll save money in the long run.

Highlight

The highlight was definitely the 'discover Holland' weekend. We went on a 4-day trip up to Groningen and an island called Schiermonnikoog. It was a weekend filled with sightseeing, kite-flying, team competitions and drinking. I don't think I'm going to forget it anytime soon.

Top tips

  • Try to travel and go on as many group trips as you can - especially ones organised by the student organisations.
  • You'll meet a bunch of new people that way and it takes the stress out of having to organise trips yourself.
Kyle - University of Amsterdam