Testimonials

by the UvA's Global Exchange Ambassadors (Spring 2015)

In the following reports, you will read about the experiences of several students who went abroad or came to Amsterdam from all over the world.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Ties - Social Sciences

Why did you go on exchange?

While I have travelled before, this was for me an excellent opportunity to live abroad for the first time in my life. When you travel, you quickly move from one place to another. However, by living in a place for a long time, you really get to know the local culture and the surroundings. In that sense, you are really building a new life abroad.

What was the highlight of your experience?

The true highlight of my experience was climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town. While this is something every tourist does in Cape Town, it still remains very special to climb this beautifully shaped mountain. Especially once you reach the top after two hours of climbing you realize just how gorgeous Cape Town and its surroundings are. The most stunning view I have ever seen.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Jihui -Translation

Why did you go on exchange?

I am here since I am interested in European art and literature, and Amsterdam has provided the perfect spot and location to see Europe on a whole.

Do you have any advice for students considering going on exchange?

Be more open minded and try to step out of your comfort zone! Trying different things at first may seem scary, but it will turn out to be an unforgettable experience later.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Nicole - Law

What was the highlight of your experience?

I'm sure it is yet to come! I feel a surge of joy in my heart every time I pedal down the canal streets and the sun is out. I am enjoying watching the seasons change and observing the people around me. There's an amusing cosiness to the way the Dutch like to socialize - it's very different from what I know.

What was your biggest challenge while on exchange?

Some days are hard. When it was snowing in my face and my bike wheels skidded and I spilt my groceries all over the road, I felt pretty hopeless and distraught. I suppose that's not really the biggest challenge, but it's representative of it - you have to adjust to the local lifestyle and sometimes it's tiresome. I'm used to taking cars and cabs and perfect sunny days. It's hard to be cold all the time, to not be able to read menus and groceries and to try to navigate the concentric canals (especially when your phone dies and you can't use Google maps!).

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Sanne - European Studies and Law

What is something about the local culture that you learned?

Eating should be celebrated with friends and family and asados (BBQs) should last forever and turn into awesome parties. There is nothing more important than a good steak with some fine wine.

What was your biggest challenge while on exchange?

My biggest challenge was definitely learning the language. I thought my Spanish was pretty good already, but I had forgotten about the Argentine slang.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Neomi - Biology & Linguistics

What have you learned about the local culture?

Overwhelmingly, people are kind. The number of amazing interactions I have had with strangers, whether just exchanging greetings or getting in-depth tutorials about using the OV chipkaart machines - people never fail to be amazingly helpful. Also, wow bikes. There are more bikes here than people. That's a real statistic.

Do you have any advice for students considering going on exchange?

Go on exchange! Whatever is holding you back doesn't matter when you have the chance; at this time in our lives when we are still able to just pick up and live in a new place for a while! You'll test your boundaries and your comfort zone and if that sounds uncomfortable you should especially do it! Because as a result, you'll make the memories of a lifetime and find out things about yourself you never knew.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Ashley - Journalism & Political Science

What did you miss most from home?

It sounds like a cliché, but I miss everything being in English. The Netherlands is pretty good about having menus and signs in English, but sometimes at the supermarket I have had a little trouble. It will be nice to come home and know exactly what I'm looking for and where it is in the grocery store!

Do you have any advice for students considering going on exchange?

Get excited! This is your only opportunity to see the world and not worry about work or money (though you should still study a little bit!). Prepare yourself; do your research, make a list of places you want to visit, decide on your must-do trips, and see what your new home has to offer you. There are exciting new places you may never have heard of that you would never see without going on exchange!

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Marijke - Economics & Business

Do you have any advice for students considering going on exchange?

Just go! Don't worry too much; you will have an amazing time. My advice is to save money for your trip so that you can do everything you want while you are on exchange.

What did you miss most from home?

My own room. I had to share a room on campus and it was very nice, but at some point I really missed my own privacy.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Martine - Business

What was the highlight of your experience?

The most fun parts from my exchange semester were all the trips we made. Every weekend felt like a small vacation!

What was the most unexpected moment during your trip abroad?

During the Thanksgiving break we went to Hawaii. This was the best vacation ever! So many people decided to go as well and eventually more than 30 people from our university decided to join. So much fun!

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Wynston - Finance

Why did you go on exchange?

See the world. I wanted to experience different cultures, experience various lifestyles and understand the history and social systems in countries outside of Australia.

What was the most unexpected moment during your trip abroad?

All the little things add up. It was not really just one moment in particular, but subtle differences such as the unwritten pedestrian and traffic rules (where you have to just be confident), Dutch mannerisms when meeting strangers and customers, and the horrible Dutch banking/card system.

testimonials Exchange, Buitenland.uva.nl en Studyabroad.uva.nl

Ida - Cultural Anthropology

What was the highlight of your experience?

Probably one of the highlights was celebrating Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok) at my friend’s house, performing the rituals honoring the deceased family members and visiting the family grave. All the while eating an extraordinary amount of delicious food and having tons of fun.

What did you miss most from home?

Family and friends. There was also this week where I really missed cheese.

Exchange Express

The Exchange Express is a newsletter which contains a selection of student testimonials and experiences. You can download the most recent issues here.

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Published by  Studenten Services

23 June 2017