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3 posts from December 2013




It’s already the last week of the Fall semester. Students are stepping in and out of the office this week and are sad to say goodbye to Amsterdam, where they met so many new friends and biked around the canals discovering local spots! It seems like it was just yesterday when students arrived here!

But at the moment students are either rounding off their final exams and handing in their papers, or enjoying their last days in Amsterdam like tourists, which includes strolling around the city and buying souvenirs for their families.

Semester wrap-up

Last week on Thursday we had our Final CIEE Meeting & Dinner. During the meeting we rounded off the academics, activities, and interest groups. It was a great semester for us in Amsterdam, we had 14 enthusiastic Business & Culture students in the program.  They were all motivated about their courses at the UvA ranging from “International Money and Banking” to “Cultural Industries” to “Dutch Language”. But they also grasped every chance to participate in some of the CIEE activities.  CIEE Farewell dinner

A few highlights are the overnight trip to Groningen in the north of the Netherlands, a company visit to VANMOOF bicycles, and a historical daytrip to Eindhoven and Den Bosch. Also in Amsterdam we had a lot of interest group activities on our list: teaching English at local elementary schools, visiting the Eye film museum with News & Media, the screening of Girl Rising, a multicultural tour of the Bijlmer, culinary Dutch cheese tasting, ice skating with the sports group, travelling back into the Golden Age on a daytrip, Thanksgiving, Sinterklaas, and many more!

Spring 2014 around the corner

With the Spring semester just around the corner, we are already busy preparing the orientation, our two new CIEE courses, and Summer 2014.

With our growing Business & Culture program in mind, we developed a new CIEE course about the Dutch Business Culture. Even though a small country, the Netherlands are a major player in business. Through the course students have the opportunity to learn more about the Dutch economy, political system and business values than what meets the eye, leading to a deeper understanding of Dutch business practices today and in the past.

Another course we are very excited about is Beginning Dutch. The Beginning Dutch course is for students traveling to the Netherlands with little or no prior knowledge of the Dutch language.

We have also started working on our Summer 2014 programs. This year we offer a wide variety of summer programs (including the Dutch Business Culture program) starting at various dates, short-term and long-term, for more information please have a look at our website:

We hope your students had a wonderful semester abroad in Amsterdam and we’re looking forward to meeting the new group in Spring 2014. For more information about what your students we’re up to this semester, please have a look around this blog:

We wish you happy holidays from Amsterdam,

Jonathan, Caroline, Annabel, Renée, Cato

Group photo fall 2013


A Grant Tour of the Dutch museums

I thought I would write my blog for CIEE about one of my top goals in Amsterdam - to see as many museums as possible, if not all of them. So I bought a museum card, which is an amazing deal because it's only 50 euro for most museums in the entire Netherlands (and only 30 euro if you buy a youth pass). I knew it would quickly be a smart purchase because most museums in Amsterdam are about 15 euro.

Because my class schedule is spread out across the day 4 days a week, I started going to smaller museums between classes. For instance, I spent 2 hours at the Verzetsmuseum between my Thursday CIEE classes. It is a great museum that is extremely informative and nicely set up. I learned a lot there and understood why it's so well reviewed. Highly recommend it.

I have also seen the Anne Frank House, Willet-Holtheuysen House, Amsterdam Museum (which I have since gone back to for their nice Mondriaan exhibit), Museum Van Loon, The Museum of Handbags and Purses, The Jewish Historical Museum, Nemo, The Maritime Museum, Allard Pierson Museum, Royal Palace at the Dam Square, Rembrandthuis, Tropenmuseum, Eye Museum, and the Hermitage Museum (and probably some others I can't think of right now). Rijks

I would consider the Hermitage to be my favorite museum in Amsterdam. There have been two large exhibits there this semester: one about Peter the Great and one about Gauguin, Bonnard, and Denis in Russian art collections prior to the 1917 Revolution. I have gone to the latter exhibit multiple times because it is so gorgeous. There is this one room in the exhibit called the music room that is covered with Denis murals and it is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen in art.

On Tuesday and the weekends, I have gone and continue to go to the bigger museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Stedelijk Museum (which I have gone to a many times, including to see their in depth and awesome Malevich exhibit).MalevichOne of my other goals while studying abroad in the Netherlands is to see as many Dutch cities as possible, which ties together nicely with my museum plan. In Haarlem I saw the Teylers Museum (the oldest museum in the Netherlands and is really cool - right out of an Indiana Jones movie), the Frans Hals Museum and the Corrie ten Boom house. In Den Haag, I have the seen Prince William V Gallery, the Peace Palace Museum, and the Mesdag Collection. In Den Bosch, I visited the Het Noordbrabants Museum. In Groningen, the Groninger Museum. In Delft, Museum Paul Tetar van Elven. And in Rotterdam, I went to the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen which is a first class museum and absolutely worth visiting. Bojmans

I could not be happier with the abundance of art and other kinds of museums in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the museum card has made this all possible which has worked out perfectly. Otherwise I would have spent hundreds of euros on museum. For anyone reading this, if you have not gone to any of the museums and do have the opportunity to, especially if you have the museum card, I recommend you go even if just for a quick visit. Unfortunately I do not think I'll be able to visit every museum in Amsterdam, but I am really happy with how many I have gone to and how much I have learned about art, culture, and other things like handbags.

Grant Johnson



What happens when you are studying abroad and miss the best American holiday of the year? Well, of course CIEE makes the second best Thanksgiving you could ever have!

On Thanksgiving, we got together at the Schreierstoren, one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam for dinner! We had to bring a dish so that everyone had plenty to eat. I had never cooked Thanksgiving dinner before so I had some trouble coming up with what to make. I finally decided on mashed potatoes with another student and we made so many. I never got to try them, but I hope they turned out well!


At dinner, we all were able to talk with RA’s, teachers, CIEE staff, and even meet some of the homestay families! It was weird not being with family on Thanksgiving, but it was so much fun to be with my new family away from home.

The dinner was amazing! We had turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, and even pumpkin pie. Everyone ate so much and I think the Dutch guests were curious as to why we would eat until we wanted to go to bed. Nonetheless, it was a lovely evening that everyone really put something into. It made it more special that we all cooked. I am so thankful for all of the new friends and experiences in Amsterdam, and CIEE Thanksgiving was the perfect evening to remind me of that.

Maddie Pearse - College of Charleston