Continuing my “Promoting Erasmus and studying abroad” pages, I now introduce you to the University of Amsterdam. Let’s suppose that you are an Erasmus student or in general a student planning to study abroad for a semester or so. What are the factors that you would take into consideration before choosing your next destination and university? How would you organise your background research? What are the things that you’d love to know about your university in advance? Here’s a short research I did about one of the biggest universities in the Netherlands that welcomes thousands of Erasmus students every year.
Background info; The university; Ever since it was founded in 1880, VU Amsterdam has been known for its distinctive approach to knowledge. VU is an open organization, strongly linked to people and society. What matters is not just the acquisition of a greater depth of knowledge, but also a wider one. Academic research and education at VU is characterized by a high level of ambition, and encourages free and open communications and ideas. VU stands for universal university values such as academic freedom and independence, which is reflected in our name (‘VU’ is the Dutch abbreviation for ‘free university’): free from the church, state and any commercial interest.
Living in Amsterdam is like living in a dream. A cold windy dream, if you will, but a dream nevertheless. Studying in Amsterdam is a different experience compared to the rest of Europe. The city is definitely more compact and what probably is going to impress you, is the fact that you mainly move around by bike. It usually comes as a shock to the new students that there are bike lanes literally everywhere. Amsterdam is a very welcoming, open city, which has a lot to offer for people with different interests and needs.
While the majority of tourists, who come to Amsterdam tend to wander around the canals, I think that to get to know the city better, people should visit the north side of it. There are a lot of cool café’s, bars and places to hang out in Amsterdam Noord and it is completely different to what people imagine when coming to this city. Obviously the cultural life does not miss from the city, while Rijksmuseum, which is just too big for one visit, is a definitely must-visit spot! At the same time, the city has so many little artistic corners! You can never really have fully discovered it. It is full of surprises while there is always an exhibition somewhere, or performances, or street shows.
Finding a place to live in Amsterdam is not easy, as there is a serious shortage of accommodation for students. However, the International Office of VU Amsterdam will do its utmost best to arrange suitable accommodation for everyone. The Office usually offers accommodation to participants in the Exchange programmes. There are furnished rooms with private or shared facilities. The number of rooms available is limited, so they cannot guarantee accommodation for every student; in order to improve your chances of obtaining accommodation you are strongly advised to apply as soon as possible.
Average rental in shared accommodation; 500 euros. Monthly transportation subscription; 90 euros . Monthly food cost; 226 euros. Average lunch price at a restaurant; 15 euros. Average Fitness subscription; 28 euros. Beer Price at a bar; 4 euros.
ESN works in the interest of all international students, not just for Erasmus students. ESN offers a clear introductory programme for all international students to introduce them to the laws, rules and customs of their host country.
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