Bachelor of Arts/Laws, 4th year
Bachelor of Arts/Laws, 4th year

Academic Experiences 

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 longer 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.

Academic Development and Employability 

Definitely my interpersonal skills - you spend so much time introducing yourself and getting to know people that it becomes very easy to do by the end. You also learn to be much more accommodating and accepting towards other cultures and their varying levels of English competency.

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.

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