The start of the semester
It’s only 3 weeks ago that our new group of students arrived in Amsterdam, but it seems like they have been here for already such a long time now. Maybe it’s because in those 3 weeks we have had so many weather changes that it felt like we just passed through a cold winter, a sunny spring, and a rainy fall. Or maybe it’s that the students are getting adjusted quickly and riding their bikes like they are from Amsterdam? Or is it because we have done so many activities together already?
We started with our CIEE orientation and this was, by the way, during our short, but cold winter time. We stayed in a hostel where we had our own meeting rooms to discuss safety & health, academics, activities, and all sorts of other practical items. We alternated that with meetings in the city center so that we could show the students where they’ll be studying this semester. The CIEE orientation was followed by International Student Network orientation, during which all foreign students in Amsterdam gather and meet to explore Amsterdam under the supervision of local students.
Then, students had their first week of classes, which was also the time when our winter changed into a lovely sunny spring time. It was amazing; students were cruising around the canals to find their way amongst the UvA locations spread over the city. At the end of the first week, it was time for our Orientation Daytrip, to explore the countryside of the Netherlands. We went to the beautiful Volendam and the traditional island of Marken. We saw the historical houses that the people of Marken built to prevent their homes from flooding. In the afternoon we hopped on a boat to bring us to Volendam where we got to play dress up in traditional Volendam clothing. It was wise to plan an inside-activity, as by the afternoon the weather had made its final change into a rainy fall. We ended our day program with a delicious Indonesian dinner in the center of Amsterdam!
We also started 4 CIEE courses this semester. Already in the program were Dutch Culture and Contemporary Dutch Social Policy, but this semester we added Beginning Dutch and Dutch Business Culture. The Dutch Business Culture course is designed especially for our Business & Culture students. (Through) In the course, students learn more about the Dutch economy, political system and business values. Themes include: the beginnings of Dutch trade, the Amsterdam stock exchange, the economic structure of the Netherlands, the Dutch political system, Dutch norms and work values, the 21st century economy of the Netherlands, and an insight into Dutch companies.
Furthermore, all of our interest groups have started. Last week it was time for a Dutch cooking workshop and a tour of the Nightwatch through Amsterdam. And on this week’s menu are ice skating in the Olympic Stadion, a queer tour of Amsterdam, a teaching workshop to start up the education volunteering project, and our very own CIEE journalists will start with this semester’s CIEE magazine!
All in all, we’re off to a good start of the semester. I hope you are doing well and I wish you a great semester too!
For more information about what your students are up to during this semester, just have a look around at this blog.
Cato van Hees
Program Coordinator Business and Culture