Frances Casey is a fourth-year History Major and GSFS Minor. Frances studied abroad in Amsterdam during Spring of 2016.
I spent last spring studying abroad in Amsterdam through the CIEE Social Sciences program. I got to take a mixture of classes at the University of Amsterdam so I took Dutch Public Health, Anthropology of Afro-Europe, and a Dutch History course. I also had the option to learn the Dutch Language, offered through the CIEE itself, so I did that too.
While Dutch is the official language of Amsterdam, English is still spoken fluently by most people there. So really I didn’t need to know Dutch to survive there, but it was still super helpful to learn it even if only for one semester. It was nice to be able to have interactions with local peoples in my daily activities, rather than place a burden on others to speak English. It was also nice to not seem so obviously foreign, even though it was still pretty clear that I was an American student. However, it was slightly frustrating since people did mostly speak English, plus my Dutch was at such a beginning level, so people generally just replied to me in English. Either way, it definitely contributed a lot to my experience in studying abroad and I’m very glad I took the opportunity to learn the language.