Author: Amanda Cook
Program: Honours Bachelor of Commerce – International Business Management
Study Abroad Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
I have now officially been gone from Canada for two and a half months, received my Dutch resident permit, finished my first block of school, and visited two other countries as well as multiple Dutch cities. Life in the Netherlands has been nothing but absolutely amazing!!
The city that I am living in Utrecht is centrally located, so it takes no longer than an hour to get to any major city in the Netherlands. I have had the opportunity to go and visit the city of Gouda which is known for its cheese and inventing the Stroopwafel. I also visited Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Rotterdam is known for having the tallest building in the Netherlands and its modern architecture with the famous cube houses. Amsterdam is known for the red light district and its canals. Each city is so different from one another that no matter which city you decide to visit there is always something new to see.
I have also had the opportunity to travel to Munich, Germany for its annual Oktoberfest. The festival draws millions of people each year, both locals and tourists. Most people dress up in the traditional “dirndl” or “lederhosen” to explore the fair. There are carnival rides everywhere, snack stands, and of course, the famous tents with traditional German music playing inside. This is a festival that I would recommend to everyone to experience once in their lifetime!
A few weeks after Oktoberfest, I took a weekend trip to Prague, Czech Republic. This city absolutely captured my heart. Prague boasts multiple types of architecture such as, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque era buildings all which make for a stunning city. Prague is known for its bridges, the John Lennon wall, its castle, and also for hosting a replica of the Eiffel tower. The city is divided by a large river that has a famous bridge across it called the Charles Bridge. It has many statues placed across it and some legends say they bring luck if you touch them.
Life in the Netherlands has not been all travel, on the contrary, the level of difficulty of the education is much higher than in Canada and has kept me quite busy studying. Here the school year is divided into four blocks which are all 8 weeks of classes then exams. I have just finished block A, and found it quite rushed because you still are expected to learn the same amount of information as in Canada but in half of the time. School has given me the opportunity to meet other exchange students as well as many Dutch friends.
I am very grateful for all of the opportunities that studying in the Netherlands has provided me and love every minute of it!