Bachelor of Commerce/Economics
Bachelor of Commerce/Economics

Academic experiences

I studied all economics subjects, as I was able to use my electives.

These were:
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- Public Economics
- Economics of Markets and Organisations
- Industrial Organisation
- International Trade and Investment

I found the courses to be of a similar level to UQ, and the amount of independent work was the same. What was different was that courses were studied in blocks, so for the first eight weeks I studied two subjects, then the following eight weeks I had three new subjects. I found it easier to study only a couple of subjects at a time, but the work was constant as I had exams every three weeks and there was no break between the two blocks.

Personal experiences

Exchange has been such a valuable experience, and I would urge everyone to do it if they have the opportunity. I made so many new friends from all over the world. Because Amsterdam is so central in Europe, I was able to travel to a lot of different places throughout the semester, and afterwards as well. Living and studying abroad has definitely improved my independence, and I've also learnt so much not only about the Dutch culture, but other European cultures as well.

Accommodation

My housing was arranged through the university, which is really the only way to do it. Independent housing is really expensive and almost impossible to find, especially from abroad. I was matched with the housing agency DeKey, and from there I was able to select from a few different student rooms. I was lucky and could choose a room right in the city centre, in the Jordaan neighbourhood. I think it’s worth paying a little more to live within the city, because some places are quite far by bike (especially in the winter) and you end up spending a lot of money on public transport.

Budget

My rent was a little more than €500 per month which is pretty standard for Amsterdam. I found most things like eating out and groceries to be about the same price as in Brisbane. Public transport is quite expensive and I hardly ever used it because I had a bike. The best place to buy a bike is from the Waterlooplein markets, they are all second-hand and quite cheap (about €60). It’s really important to buy a good lock as a lot of bikes get stolen so it’s worth spending another €30-40 on this. It’s really easy to travel from Amsterdam, and so I spent quite a lot on trips away for the weekend. The best thing to do is book trips at least a month in advance and you end up saving quite a lot on flights and train tickets.

Academic development and employability

I've learnt a lot about different cultures, both by living abroad and through meeting different people, which I think is really important. It was also really interesting learning economics from a European perspective, as it's not really a huge focus at UQ. I noticed a lot more emphasis on group participation than at UQ, which has helped build my confidence within a group environment.

Highlight

Meeting new friends was definitely a highlight. Also living in such a beautiful city and being able to cycle around everywhere - Amsterdam has so much to offer for every type of person!

Top tips

It can be a challenging thing to do, but I have benefited so much from the experience, and it’s completely worth all the hard work. I was really nervous before I left, but the University had a really good orientation program so I was able to make new friends really quickly. Also, when you are abroad, keep an open mind and take advantage of every opportunity you are given in order to make the most of it!

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