My six months in Amsterdam has been an experience that will shape the rest of my life. Here at UQ I study a duel degree in Business Management and Psychology, having dreamed of going on exchange somewhere in the world since my first year, I was finally able to organise myself in my 4th year of study. I chose Amsterdam for a few reasons: a large portion of my family lives near the city, its central location within Europe, its stunning architecture, its reputation as a U21 university and its incredible cultural diversity.

Studying at the University of Amsterdam (or UvA) took a bit of getting used to! Instead of the 13 week semesters we are used to, the UvA had recently implanted a “block” system where you have two 6 week blocks and 1 four week block within the one semester. Top tip 1: if you manage to put all your subjects in the first 2 blocks you get a months holiday at the end of the semester! As far as subjects and workload, I found having English as a first language incredibly beneficial, as most of the people you will be studying with are from Europe.

While studying certainly took up a bit of my time, the rest was spent traveling and frequenting the many cafes, bars and nightclubs the city has to offer! Top tip 2: If you’re into your coffees there is a number of fantastic new places, check out sweet cup near Leidseplein, and ask the owner to suggest a couple places after you have tried a cup or two. On top of the many crazy parties at nightclubs such as “Melkweg, Trouw and Paradiso” some of the best experiences I had was hitting up the incredible music festivals! From small one-day festivals with only a few thousand people to crazy weekend long festivals Amsterdam has it all. Just be prepared to seem some truly weird and wonderful people and don’t be to shocked if half the crowed is wide eyed and screaming in joy to the sound of the music. Top tip 3: Get to as many music festivals as you can, its an experience like non we have here in Australia.

If you have started looking into studying into Amsterdam seriously you will have heard that the uni offers to set up accommodation for you. This is pretty much your only option, I had a few friends that wanted to stay on after their 6 months in Amsterdam and all of them where having a horribly stressful time finding anything nice and for a reasonable price. The accommodation the uni provides varies a lot, and unfortunately it is a bit luck of the draw. I got placed in the “Grote Bickersstraat” apartments and had a fabulous time, for about 550 euro a month I got my own studio apartment in a building full of students from all over the world.

Overall, my exchange put me in touch with some of the most incredible people I have met, and led me to some incredible experiences and opportunities. I can’t recommend exchange and especially the University of Amsterdam enough.

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