Hello, wonderful, wonderful Amsterdam!

Posted at: 28 Mar 2019 | Communication

When you found out that you will go to Amsterdam for a semester abroad, you were probably confused, scared, stressed, anxious but also excited and certainly happy! I know I was. In this blog, I will try to guide you through what will happen when you first arrive in Amsterdam and how you can settle in.

Making new friends during an AUAS class field trip to London.

The first days can be overwhelming, but don’t be afraid

The first days can be quite overwhelming. I arrived alone in Amsterdam and I didn’t know a single soul, which was quite scary.

As soon as you arrive at the airport, a shuttle bus will take you to the University of Amsterdam Science Park. Here you will have the opportunity to meet the ISN (International Student Network) and the International Office team. They will help you to get everything in order – getting the keys to your student housing, registering at city hall and of course: meeting other international students. Just talk to them, everyone is in the same situation and the other students will be happy to share their thoughts.

Student housing – make it feel like home

I myself got a shared room with a guy I never met before. When I first heard that, I didn’t know what to think of it – could we respect each other? Would there be a culture gap? But a phrase you’re going to hear a lot is “go in with an open mindset”. And as long as you do that, everything will be fine and everything will work out just great!

After you’ve unpacked your luggage, the best thing you can do is to go to one of the many cheap stores, like HEMA, IKEA or Action. Here you can buy whatever you need to really make the room cozy and create a place that feels like home.

When the sun is finally out, spending time with people from your student housing is the best activity.

Get a bike and see the city!

Bikes: you’re going to see a lot in Amsterdam. They are everywhere! And you should get one too. You can buy a used one, or you can rent one from Swapfiets, for example.

The traffic can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you will get used to it really fast. Going by bike is clearly the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. You should bike around the city just getting to know it. It can be a bit disorientating at first because so many streets look the same, but Amsterdam is such a wonderful city to explore. And of course, in my second week I already had the experience of having my first crash (by going straight into a parked car). When I told it to some Dutch people, they simply laughed at me and said; “Now you can really call yourself a native”.

It can be hard to navigate around Amsterdam, but if you do get lost you're going to have a beautiful scenery.

INS-intro week

In the first week, there will be an introduction week for all international students. I strongly recommend you to go to as many events as possible. It is a great way of getting to know new people, your future classmates and maybe even making some new friends. It is also much more fun exploring the city with other people and sharing the amazing stories you are going to experience.

I was so lucky that after the first week I even went on a field trip with my class at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences to London. I got to spend a lot of time with people from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds and we still do a lot of stuff together and try to see as much as possible.

Enjoy your stay!

I will keep saying this: be open minded, take any chances you get and enjoy your stay! You are going to have a wonderful time in Amsterdam, and even through it can feel overwhelming at first, you will get settled in quickly and have the time of your life!

Watch the student ambassadors video