Envision yourself in a bio lab or a psychology lecture. Now look around you—you’re surrounded by Dutch and international students. Your classroom isn’t in one of those old familiar buildings on your home campus; it’s in one of Europe’s most exciting and unique cities—Amsterdam—at an internationally-recognized research university, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
With its strong course offerings in psychology and the sciences, you’ll find English-taught courses at the VU to apply to your major, from Experimental Cell Biology to The History and Philosophy of Psychology. You can dive deep into your major, but you also have the opportunity to expand your studies with IES Abroad course options, such as offerings in Dutch language and culture, sexuality and gender, studio art, and art history.
Amsterdam will be your classroom. Sharpen your independent research skills by getting out and volunteering, observing, or visiting organizations for the IES Abroad Research Seminar. Or practice your new Dutch language skills as you peruse fresh produce with friends at the popular Noordermarkt. If you are adventurous and willing to explore, you will feel what it's like to live as a real Dutch student.
We want you to feel at home in Amsterdam, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the best, most authentic study abroad experience possible.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
A room inspection needs to be arranged and completed before the end of June 2. When you leave on Saturday you can leave your keys in the mailbox of housing corporation DUWO.
The departure date is set in accordance with the end of the exam period 5 of the semester. If your exams are finished before this date, you may depart earlier than the published departure date. All early departure must be cleared by the Center Director.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.
While in Amsterdam, you take 15-18 credits per semester at VU University Amsterdam (VU), known for its strong offerings in psychology and the sciences.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
VU University Amsterdam (VU) Courses
You can find more information about the options offered at the VU through the links below: You can find the full 2016-2017 course list here.
*Please note the following
About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
The VU, founded in 1880, enrolls about 25,000 students, and offers courses in eleven faculties covering arts and science fields, and takes pride in a very studentcentric teaching style. The VU is situated on a campus (unlike many European city universities), just outside of central Amsterdam, near the business district in South Amsterdam.
Originally set up as an institution of higher education separate from church or state, the current day VU takes this heritage seriously. Students will feel comfortable on campus, and can access the many resources available, including modern buildings and infrastructure, the Griffioen Cultural Centre, shops, cafés, and an extensive library.
The VU boasts a strong international environment; its goal is to have one in four students in its English-taught programs be an international student.
Course-related excursions are academic trips associated with courses. They are organized to complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to a general knowledge of Amsterdam culture and society. Participation is based on course registration.
Past examples include:
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Amsterdam, it will feel like home.
Student HousingLive in a single room with a private bathroom in VU campus student housing—just a five to 10-minute bike ride to the VU academic buildings, located in the suburb of Amstelveen. Meals are not included, but you can dine at inexpensive local restaurants or prepare meals in a shared common kitchen. Washing machines and dryers are available. A supermarket is nearby, as are sports facilities, restaurants, Mensas (student cafeterias), and a cultural center.
Part of making you feel at home in Amsterdam is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is the orientation program that makes you feel prepared, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
Our orientation introduces you to the IES Abroad Amsterdam staff, your fellow students, and the city of Amsterdam. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time.
You also participate in a VU-led orientation to get to know the VU staff and facilities. You have the option to join the European Student Network's (ESN) orientation for international students, led by Dutch students.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
As part of the CORE™ program, youparticipate in a volunteer activity in the community. This volunteer experience creates a sense of community with your fellow students, offers you deeper insight
into life in Amsterdam, and gives you a point of contact if you’d like to continue participating in volunteer projects throughout the semester.
Field trips are also organized to introduce you to other parts of the Netherlands and to Dutch pastimes. Past trips have included excursions to the Zaanse Schans and Utrecht.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Amsterdam through cultural events, such as:
Even though your adventure starts in Paris, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations:
Island of Texel
2 Days | Fall
Tour the island by bike, visit a seal rescue center, and take a trip on a shrimp boat.
2 Days | Spring
Explore the city and the famous caves of Limburg, and take a country walk in the beautiful hilly countryside.
1 Day | Fall & Spring
See Rotterdam’s amazing modern architecture on a guided walking tour through this rebuilt city. In the afternoon, you can explore Rotterdam’s many museums.
About the Center
The IES Abroad Amsterdam Center is housed in the Oranje-Nassau Kazerne, former military barracks now turned into offices and apartments, and located across from the famous Artis Zoo. Features include: a small library, classroom space, staff offices, WiFi Internet access, and space for students to meet and study.
Chantal Omloo earned an M.A. in History of International Relations at the University of Utrecht and an MSc in Development Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her academic focus was centred on economic development in Sub Saharan Africa and she has published a number of articles in this field.
Prior to joining IES Abroad in 2001, Chantal worked for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), an NGO based in the United Kingdom. Chantal managed customized programs for IES Abroad out of the London Center before moving back to her native Netherlands to become our Amsterdam Center Director.
IES Abroad Staff
Anabelle GouletteStudent Affairs and Office Coordinator
Diana KaekebekeAcademic and Student Affairs Coordinator
Depending on your program, you will be taught by faculty from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Vrije Universiteit, the Universiteit van Amsterdam or IES Abroad.