The studying abroad experience in Amsterdam
Written by Ruby Goodley, a 4th year Social Anthropology student.
The chance to study abroad at The University of Manchester is offered as a full year in your third year or a semester in your second year. I went to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to study for a full year in the Social Anthropology department. However, the exchange experience allowed me to take classes in other departments such as philosophy, law and communicative science which gave me a deeper look at the world beyond anthropology, as well as, further study skills and disciplinary approaches. The Dutch education system is a bit more full on than Manchester, so the year pushed me to actively read and made my final year feel like a breeze in terms of workload.
My year abroad is an experience that has not only helped me academically in my final year, but has made me more confident and well-rounded as an individual. I could write a book about all the amazing things I did that pushed me out of my comfort zone. But to list a few I visited so many cities such as Antwerp, Budapest, Geneva and Portugal due to being on mainland Europe. I met the most positive and like-minded friends who invited me to come and visit their home countries – I even went to Boston for the fourth of July! I also fell in love with biking and embracing nature. We went on a three hour bike ride during springtime to see the array of beautiful tulips fields (the flower of the Dutch nation). As well as embracing going to museums with my yearlong museum pass, which pushed me to spend my weekends gaining knowledge instead of being consistently hungover! It would be hard to pinpoint my favourite thing I did, but I think my fondest memories come from spending so much time sunbathing at the local lake with my flatmates during the heatwave. Or going night swimming at the beach in Den Haag.
I think the most prominent thing I enjoyed about my year abroad was the freedom it gave me to explore myself as a person, have a break away from the stresses of my degree and gave me a new network of connections to people all around the world. Going and living in a new place with new people can seem like a daunting prospect, but the person you become at the end is more well-rounded, appreciative of the world and open-minded to new things. I will never stop talking about the positive things Amsterdam and travelling have provided for me as a student and human being! I push you to do it as you will not regret it! If you need to be convinced further – check out ‘the Manchester on the road’ blog run by the study abroad team at Manchester, where students provide advice and guidance about navigating the multitude of cities that people live in each academic year.