From Tourist to Local: Making the Most of Your Time in Amsterdam

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Bess Goldstein
July 23, 2023
Selfie of a girl wearing sunglasses on a boat in a canal

Studying abroad in one of the busiest tourist spots in Europe feels like hitting the jackpot! Just imagine being in a city that's always full of people from all over the world. I've been in Amsterdam for 6 weeks now, and it's like living in a picture-perfect postcard with famous places to see, historic neighborhoods, and a lively atmosphere all around me. But let's be real—it's not all perfect. Dealing with the constant crowds can be a bit overwhelming at times. You might wonder if you can find some peace and quiet among all the hustle and bustle. Plus, you have to balance your studies while having a great time in this amazing city. Don't worry, though! There are ways to make the most of your adventure without going crazy. By planning smartly and knowing the best times to visit places, your time in Amsterdam will be an incredible and memorable experience. 

  1. When studying abroad in a lively city like Amsterdam, managing your time and academics becomes crucial. It's essential to establish a structured study routine to strike a balance between your studies and leisure activities. I struggled with this at first, finishing assignments right before class on the metro! What I found helpful was finding quiet study spots amidst the bustling city, which can be challenging, but not impossible. Look for cozy cafes, libraries, or peaceful corners in parks where you can focus without distractions. Vondell Park, public libraries, and most cafés are great places to sit down amongst the chaos. Embracing technology can also be a big help—there are study apps and tools to keep you organized, like setting reminders for assignments and creating study schedules.
  2. When you're in such a busy city like Amsterdam, it's helpful to know some insider travel tips. Firstly, getting around efficiently can be done by using the metro, tram, bus, and all the bike lanes! Not only are they convenient but they are all affordable options and can take you to various places. I had both a bike and a metro card that I would refill at the stations. During weekends or breaks, consider taking day trips to nearby destinations like Bruges, Belgium. (Check out the pictures at the bottom of the article!) Only a 3-hour bus ride away, you can even buy a ticket for a guided tour with some chocolate tasting! There are also fun day trips to reach by train in Amsterdam, like Haarlem, or Utrecht. They offer unique experiences and are easy to reach from the center city. Also, the student museum card can be used in many places across Amsterdam, allowing you to visit museums and cultural sites without breaking the bank.
  3. When exploring a new city like Amsterdam, it's exciting to discover hidden gems that not many tourists know about. These are lesser-known places and local spots that offer an authentic experience away from crowded areas. I recommend the Secret Garden, the Jordaan district, and the Albert Cuyp market for fewer tourists and more immersion. Connecting with the local communities can be a fantastic way to have a genuine cultural experience, where you can learn about their traditions, cuisine, and way of life. I recommend embracing these hidden gems and engaging with the locals will enrich your study abroad adventure and create unforgettable memories.

Studying abroad in Amsterdam offers a unique and enriching experience that can feel like hitting the jackpot! As more students embark on this Dutch journey, it's essential to embrace the city's vibrancy fully. Embrace the energy, diversity, and excitement that such a location has to offer. By striking a harmonious balance between academics and leisure, one can make the most of this extraordinary study-abroad opportunity. Remember, this time abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will shape your perspective and broaden your horizons. Seize every opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, make new friends, and cherish the memories gained. Embrace the challenges and celebrate the triumphs. Each moment will become a treasured part of your life story.

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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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