I wanted to thank Champlain College for both allowing and encouraging me to have the amazing experience of studying abroad. The college’s study abroad program has always proven exceptional in its consistent marketing and recruitment. If I ever had any questions whatsoever, the coordinators working for the program were there to help with immediate responses and moral support.
I also wanted to thank Champlain for featuring my blog in the International Education section of their website!
Champlain College’s Exchange Programs allow Burlington students to spend a semester immersed in another culture as they live and study at one of our exchange institutions. This also an excellent opportunity to diversify our Burlington campus as we welcome students from our exchange partners for a semester or full academic year.
Check out the blog of Brittany Leaning ’12 who is studying at Champlain’s Exchange Program in the Netherlands: http://ventureabroad.wordpress.com/
For more information on third party/exchange programs such as the one I did in Amsterdam, or to see where Champlain mentioned Venture Abroad, click the link and check it out here.
The International Student Network puts together a 4 day introduction period for study abroad and exchange students coming to Amsterdam for school. Each day has different activities that not only involve interactions between international students, but also tours and information about the city of Amsterdam. Today was not as exciting as the next few days will be, but it was still an interesting experience. In the morning, we had to find the ISN headquarters, which happened to be a couple tram rides away. This is where we registered and got a bracelet for the week’s upcoming events.
Later in the evening there was a free dinner at a night club that was actually quite far away. Those who had stayed with their groups all day and had gone to intercultural workshops (which I decided to skip) had coaches to guide them to the location of this club. Those who didn’t stay with their groups all day (the majority of my friends) took the longest way possible to get to get to the club because the tram routes are ridiculous and make no sense.
After spending an hour on public transit with a tram ride, a metro ride with a missed stop, another tram ride, a bus ride, and some walking in the rain in between, we finally arrived. At one point, I actually found use for one of the ONLY Dutch phrases I managed to learn before I arrived in Amsterdam. “Ze verdwaalden in het bos!” This means: “They got lost in the woods!” I thought this would have been completely useless and out of context since I’d be living in a CITY. Boy, was I wrong.
ISN provided us with 3 free drink tokens and some terribly bland noodles for dinner. The club was nice, but we left once the food and drinks were consumed. Getting home was quite simple once we knew where we were going. It was only two tram rides (about a half hour) away. I’m running out of money from simply taking the tram everywhere I go. I need to get a bike ASAP!
My hopes are that tomorrow’s excursions will be more successful. My itinerary consists of a city walk, a boat ride, the Van Gogh museum, and Dutch Night (getting to know the Dutch ‘borrel’ culture with Dutch drinks and such).
Some great people who live in my building with our "goofy faces"
I made a sandwich and had no plans other than to walk around and see what I could find. As I walked out my door, eating my sandwich, I see that my neighbors (about 10 people) all had sandwiches too. I held my sandwich up to the window and gave a thumbs up as I walked by, and all 10 of my neighbors gave the thumbs up right back. The door was open, so I walked in and introduced myself. Many of them were from Spain. A few from the U.S., a few from France, one from Finland, a couple from Canada, and I’m sure there were many more. All of these people were just wonderful; each of them trying to communicate in any way possible. I can’t even tell you how many different languages I heard being spoken last night. Everyone was giving their best efforts. It ends up that I relate more to Canadians than I do with Americans. The Spanish and French individuals I met were just the nicest, most wonderful people. I am so happy I made a sandwich last night instead of a bowl of cereal…