The "Studying" Part of Being Abroad

Chloe Abracossa
Chloe Abracosa
February 10, 2024

I have officially been in class for about two weeks now. Although the city’s charm hasn’t worn off yet, the reality of living alone is definitely starting to set in. I remember one of the questions asked during the pre-departure orientation meeting was if meal plans were available, and I kid you not, the answer was something along the lines of meal plans being a strictly “American concept”. This meant that I had to be in charge of my own meals for the entirety of my stay. Coming from a campus where the dining hall was my main source of food, grocery shopping was a small challenge for me. I am lucky that I know how to cook. But in all honesty, I don’t know how to organize a fully rounded grocery list. It is especially difficult when all of the ingredients at the store are in Dutch. It was quite a challenge at first, but I was able to get a realistic weeks worth of groceries for about 50 euros. Sure, I forgot to buy butter, and the cheese I bought was a little funky, but I managed to survive my first trip to the Dirk van den Broek (thank you Google translate!).

Other than grocery shopping, I officially have started classes this week. Since I am a sociology major, most of my classes at Vrije Universiteit are taught by the Social Science Department, but I have met students from other majors such as business and communication. The class I am currently most excited about is called Discourse Analysis, where we learn how to transcribe conversations, dissect them, and analyze them. I’m very excited to see what this class can teach me. 

The Dutch grading system is a slightly harder system than what I’m used to back home. According to professors and other faculty, A’s are rarely passed out and most Dutch students are satisfied with a minimum passing grade. On top of that, grades are mainly dependent on the Final Exam because there are hardly any homework assignments. I am definitely a little scared that the Final Exam for one of my classes is worth 80% of my grade, but I guess I have no choice but to hunker down and get to studying! I have discovered some really great study places around the city, I was told by IES Abroad Staff that I can study at the Rijksmuseum Library with a reservation. And thanks to the “Museum Kart” provided by the IES Abroad team, I can schedule a visit for free!

Even though things have been picking up with school, I still been having an amazing time in Amsterdam. This week, I was able to cross the Waterlooplein Markt off of my bucket list! The Waterlooplein Markt is one of the oldest flea markets in Amsterdam and features vintage from all over Europe! All of my friends and I were able to find some incredible things. I specifically was able to walk away with a leather trenchcoat that I haggled down to an acceptable price!  If you love to thrift, or if you love vintage finds, you should make a point to visit Waterlooplein Markt and walk around city-center canals afterwards. I know I definitely will be going back!

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Chloe Abracossa

Chloe Abracosa

Chloe Abracosa is a Filipina-American student from Southern California. She is currently in her third year at Sarah Lawrence College studying the Social Sciences. When she is not studying, she loves to play music and take portraits of her friends. 

2024 Spring
Home University:
Sarah Lawrence College
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