Preparing to Explore Amsterdam's Riches (as a Student on a Budget)

Headshot of Bess Goldstein
Bess Goldstein
June 2, 2023
Colorful flowers on a bridge over an Amsterdam canal

To all the students who once doubted the possibility of studying abroad, I can relate. The idea of immersing myself in a new culture, pursuing my passions, and exploring one of my dream cities, Amsterdam, felt like an unattainable dream. The pandemic created uncertainty around international travel during my college years, causing me to question whether studying abroad was even possible. However, as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, I refuse to let fear dictate my journey.

Now here I am, 5 days away from my flight to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for my 45-day travel! 

Being someone who has yet to visit Europe, the idea of discovering historical landmarks, gaining fresh academic insights, and immersing myself in diverse cultures ignites a deep sense of fascination and curiosity within me. Amsterdam, with its captivating charm and reputation as a pioneering hub for gender and sexuality studies, has long been a city that has captured my imagination as both a student and a writer. Its picturesque canals, vibrant art scene, and progressive values make it the perfect destination for my inaugural trip abroad following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’m thrilled to be visiting the Netherlands, particularly the captivating city of Amsterdam! Join me on my journey as I share my aspirations and preparations for studying gender and culture in this inclusive and accepting country.

  1. Researching Scholarships and Grants: To ensure that I can afford my study abroad experience, I’ve spent time researching scholarships and grants that are specifically designed to assist students studying gender and culture. Both IES Abroad and universities in the US offer funding opportunities for students who are pursuing research or academic programs in these areas. Applying for financial aid from both IES Abroad and my University has been a crucial part of my preparations.
  2. Creating a Budget: It’s crucial to prioritize budgeting as a student. Currently, I am saving up from my part-time job in order to cover additional expenses on my trip. Right now, I’m developing a budget that considers all my essential expenses, including meals, transportation, entertainment, and academic materials. By carefully organizing my finances, I can maximize my study abroad experience without breaking the bank.
  3. Adventure on Two Wheels: Not only does Amsterdam offer an efficient public transportation system, including trams and trains, but I also plan to embrace the city’s renowned cycling culture. Renting a bicycle while I’m in Amsterdam this summer is not only eco and budget-friendly but also allows me to experience the city like a true local.
  4. Connecting with the LGBTQ+ Community: It is well known that cultural immersion extends beyond the classroom, and I know that IES Abroad will make that a possibility. I intend to connect with the vibrant LGBTQ community of Amsterdam, attending local events and participating in discussions on gender and sexuality in the classroom. Engaging with like-minded individuals will enrich my understanding of intersectionality and diversity within a community. 
  5. Maximizing Student Discounts: While abroad, I believe it will be tough for me to not want to spend extra dollars on travel and entertainment. Fortunately, IES Abroad is able to provide field trip options in their programs, available for all its students to participate in! Additionally, being a student in Amsterdam has its perks, and one of them is access to student discounts. I’ve made a list of museums, attractions, and events that offer reduced prices or special offers for students in Amsterdam, here are a few that I found!                                                                                                                

-  Rijksmuseum: This world-renowned museum houses a vast collection of Dutch art and history. Students can enjoy discounted admission by presenting a valid student ID card.                                                                

 -  Van Gogh Museum: Dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh, this museum showcases an impressive collection of his paintings. Reduced admission fees are available for students.                             

-  Anne Frank House: A significant historical site, the Anne Frank House provides insight into the life of Anne Frank during World War II. Students are eligible for discounted tickets.                                     

-  Stedelijk Museum: This contemporary art museum features a diverse range of modern and contemporary artworks. Students can take advantage of reduced admission prices.                                        

-  NEMO Science Museum: A hands-on science museum, NEMO offers interactive exhibits and experiments. Students can enjoy discounted entry fees.                                                                                                

-  Amsterdam Museum: This museum explores the history and culture of Amsterdam through various exhibitions. Reduced admission rates are available for students.

I'm eager to explore the rich heritage and diverse traditions of the Netherlands. From seeing the beautiful canals, and visiting Vondell Park, to savoring Dutch delicacies at local markets, I aim to immerse myself in the culture and make lasting memories for myself. My journey to study abroad in the Netherlands is a dream come true, as I embark on this journey, I invite you to join me in discovering the wonders of Amsterdam on a student budget. With some careful planning, fully immersing myself in local experiences, and diving into the city's vibrant cultural scene, I cannot wait to create unforgettable memories while studying gender and culture in this amazing European hotspot.

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Headshot of Bess Goldstein

Bess Goldstein

My name is Bess, and I'm a senior Journalism major at the University of Pittsburgh. I'm a published writer and enjoy writing for news publications, creating digital media projects, and expanding my writing perspectives through global cultures.

Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Fanwood, NJ
Creative Writing
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