Jemima – Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Media and Communication / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
I chose to do my semester exchange in Amsterdam, where I studied at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. I studied an international minor in Global Trendwatching. I would highly recommend doing a minor as over the five months I had all my classes with the same 32 students.
About half the students were international exchange students like me and the other half were students from the Netherlands. The minor study meant that it sometimes felt more like being back at school rather than University, which I was a bit shocked by at first, but I eventually grew to enjoy it.
Our class got close and enjoyed having to spend long days in class together as it was super social. I was the only QUT student studying in Amsterdam that Semester and I didn’t really meet any Australians during my time there, which I was expecting to. Overall though I think this was nice as I got to make friends with people from all over Europe rather than just sticking with the Aussies.
Amsterdam was a really interesting and exciting city to live in but it be prepared it is also super expensive. Eating out, public transport and nightlife are all pretty expensive. So save as much money as possible if going to Amsterdam. I would also recommend downloading the app Via Van – it’s about half the price of an Uber but you share the ride with other passengers. Dutch people are known for being direct but pretty much all of the Dutch people I interacted with were super friendly and nice, but maybe not as laid back as Australians.
The only negative thing I really have to say about my exchange was my accommodation. I paid 700 euros per month for a tiny studio (WASA Student Village) in Sloterdijk on the other side of Amsterdam to where my University was. There was really nothing going on in that area and it was so far from everything.
There was also a lot of crime in this area and a lot of people, including myself, felt unsafe at times. It also made biking really challenging as it was just too far away. It was well connected to public transport but this was expensive. The studio itself was fine, pretty modern but extremely tiny. I had my own bathroom and kitchen but there really was no room to have anyone over. My accommodation also didn’t have a common room like most other exchange students I met had. I recommend staying in accommodation with shared facilities but a private room, as these were in better locations and much cheaper.
My final advice to anyone considering going to Amsterdam or the Netherlands is to be prepared for it to rain, A LOT. I think it rained probably 70-80% of the five months I was there. Once you get used to this it’s fine but it’s definitely tough to get used to at the start.