Amsterdam is a city of canals, french fries and friendly people. It is the capital of the Netherlands and has a population over 800 000 people. Amsterdam’s demographic is different compared to the rest of the Netherlands because it has a population almost 50% Dutch and 50% foreigners. That’s why it’s common to use English in everyday actions and most of the people speak English fluently.
I have done my exchange period in this lovely city, in school named Hogeschool van Amsterdam. It translates to Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. My courses mostly consisted of finance and economics, which was first a bit difficult due to lack of finance courses in TAMK. Lecturers were great and professional, but they also expected lots of general knowledge about finance even at first. The lectures were interactive and lecturers made sure everybody was paying attention to the subject.
Compared to Finland, there were fewer lectures and most of the studying took place at home. Also, the courses took the whole semester and exams were all in June. The Dutch grading system is completely different than in Finland. They have a scale from 1 to 10, where 1-5,5 indicates fail, 6 satisfactory, 7 more than satisfactory, 8 good, 9 very good and 10 outstanding. Grades 9 and 10 are given very rarely. In my opinion, the level of education is higher than in Finland and it’s also more challenging, but still manageable.
Amsterdam is filled with adorable restaurants, bars, and parks, where you can eat and drink affordably. Of course, you can always bike to these places. As a beer person, I visited some of the Dutch breweries. My favorite place was this place called Brouwerij’t IJ, which was a brewery inside the windmill. For the food, I would always go to this neighborhood called De Pijp, where most of the people are Dutch – not tourists. For the culture, I visited Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank house. Even though these places are really crowded with tourists, they are excellent places to get more knowledge about the Dutch history and see beautiful paintings. There was a common room in our accommodation, where you could play cards, party or just hang with the other exchange students. This was great because I didn’t live in the central.
Overall I can recommend Amsterdam to everyone for studying, working or just visiting. I had myself an amazing time in this city and I hope we’ll see again!