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CIEE: Amsterdam, Social Sciences
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Program Dates &
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Restrictions: CU applicants only
Fact Sheet:
 Lang. of Instruction:
 Lang. Courses Offered:
 Program Type:
Direct Enrollment
 Minimum GPA:
Housing: Dormitory/Residence Hall, Homestay Fields of Instruction: Anthropology, Art History, Communication, Cultural Studies, European studies, Gender Studies, Geography, Government (Political Science), History, International Relations, Literature, Philosophy, Sociology, Urban/Regional Planning
 Class Rank:
junior Study Abroad Advisor : Ann Hoover
Program Description:


Come spend a semester or a year exploring Amsterdam one of the most beautiful, dynamic, and progressive cities on earth.

With CIEE you’ll increase your understanding of social, political, and cultural realities in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Europe. Through a challenging and stimulating curriculum in the humanities and social sciences; internship and volunteering opportunities; student interest groups; and Dutch homestay options, you’ll develop fascinating insight into this remarkable country and enjoy a truly unique international experience.

Study abroad in Amsterdam and you will:

  • Gain an insider’s perspective on Amsterdam and the Netherlands through the CIEE course and unique field visits focusing on contemporary Dutch social policy
  • Take a wide range of courses in the humanities and social sciences
  • Study Dutch language and integrate into the community through the International Student Network, interest groups, weekend homestays, and volunteer opportunities
  • Live in accessible, lively and multicultural Amsterdam and explore it on your bike.
The CIEE Difference


In addition to specialized CIEE courses on Dutch Culture, Contemporary Social Policy, Dutch Business and Culture and Beginning Dutch, you’ll have access to classes that cover a wide range of subjects through enrolment at the University of Amsterdam. Study gender, sexuality, and society; development and planning; media, communications and film, and more.
Contemporary Dutch Social Policy

The Dutch Contemporary Social Policy class analyzes specific themes within Dutch Society dealing with social policy issues and practice. The themes covered are: Drugs, Prostitution, Gender and Sexuality, Migration, Housing Euthanasia and Abortion.
These specific themes have been chosen to reflect the distinctive social policies for which the Netherlands is known for. The underlying theme throughout the course is the issue of social tolerance. In a society like that of the Netherlands, for example, social policies on drugs and prostitution can be more liberal and open. The key question is whether these policies are successful and what tensions exist between theory and practice. The background, history, and development for these policies will be analyzed. The course thus moves from the micro level i.e., the actual social issue on hand, to the macro level, where the interrelatedness of the issues is studied.
The combination of lectures and guided site visits of organizations related to the themes of the course will allow students to study how social policy plays out in practice. Students will develop a sociological and anthropological perspective of their surroundings and develop greater social consciousness.
Dutch Culture

The Dutch Culture helps students develop a series of concepts and skills that will allow them to improve the way they interact in an intercultural context. More specifically, it provides students with the conceptual tools and practical space needed to reflect on, understand (as well as de-code), adapt to, and integrate into Dutch culture. The Dutch Culture course is not a typical culture course as it offers a much more dynamic experience.
Students will collaborate with classmates, a local cultural partner, and the course instructor. Together, they will explore cultural self-awareness (who & how you are), cultural literacy (who and how the ‘other’ is within Dutch culture), and cultural bridging. Concepts include, but are not limited to: global citizenship, cultural values, cultural dimensions, and stereotyping. Skills include conscious communicating, suspending judgment, shifting perspectives, resolving disagreements, and articulating the intercultural experience. Through readings, field reports, discussions, and experiential assignments, students will be supported and challenged to better adapt to life in The Netherlands. The course will facilitate students’ intercultural interactions during their time abroad and position them to approach future experiences with cultural difference more actively, openly, and effectively.
Dutch Business Culture

Through the Dutch Business Culture 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. The lectures are divided into several cultural themes that are characteristic for contemporary Dutch business, and will feature a combination of company visits, inviting experts from the field, lectures, group discussions and exercises to have the students fully emerge in the topic and to get an insider’s perspective. Themes include: the beginnings of Dutch trade, the Amsterdam stock exchange, the economic structure of the Netherlands in the 21st century, the Dutch political system, and Dutch norms and work values.
Beginning Dutch

Students with no background can participate in the CIEE Beginning Dutch course. During this course, students learn the basics of the Dutch language in an interactive classroom and where Dutch language will be learned in the context of contemporary issues and events in Dutch society.
Students with a prior background in Dutch language can participate in the appropriate level at the language institute of the UvA (INTT).
While Dutch is not required, it is strongly recommended, particularly for academic year students and stud


The CIEE Study Center in Amsterdam aims to provide an insider’s perspective that most people, both locals and tourists, never see. We do this through guided site visits relating to contemporary Dutch social policy and unique destinations within and around the Netherlands.

Excursions include a visit to another historical Dutch city, an overnight trip to either Schiermonnikoog island (a UNESCO world heritage site) or a Dutch or Belgian city such as Rotterdam or Maastricht or Ghent and Bruges or Brussels, a visit to the site of a typical Dutch product (a cheese farm or the Delta Works that protect the Dutch countryside from the sea), and a visit to a cultural venue such as a ballet or soccer match. Students also have the option of staying overnight with a host family outside of Amsterdam.

Interest Groups

CIEE study abroad in Amsterdam offers Interest Groups as vehicles for gaining access to a wider range of Dutch locals and to better engage with the local community. Four to six interest groups are offered per semester that meet regularly either in the form of volunteer work or as discussion groups supplemented with special events such as theater performances, museum visits, and movie nights.


Total recommended credit for the semester is 15-18 semester/22.5-27 quarter hours. For the academic year, total recommended credit is 30-36 semester/45-54 quarter hours.

CIEE course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.

Program Requirements

Study abroad students typically take either three courses (two worth 12 EC/6 U.S. credits plus one worth 6 EC/3 U.S.) or four courses (three worth 6 EC/3 U.S. plus one worth 12 EC/ 6 U.S.) totaling 30 EC (15 U.S.) chosen from the UvA and CIEE course offerings. Students must enroll in a minimum of the equivalent of 15 U.S. credits and a maximum of 18 U.S. credits. Students must enroll in at least two courses during each block. Some courses may be worth 10 EC/5 U.S. or 5 EC/2.5 U.S. in which case CIEE participants will enroll in four courses, each worth 10 EC/5 U.S.

About Amsterdam

Amsterdam is full of life, day and night, with world-renowned museums, art galleries, music, opera, theater, and dance. It is a truly international and multicultural city. Amsterdammers are easy-going and welcoming to foreigners, and English is the unofficial second language. With over 750,000 inhabitants, Amsterdam offers the advantages of a cosmopolitan center with a small-town feel. Because the city is so compact, bicycles are the most convenient means of transportation; in fact, bicycles outnumber the people in Amsterdam!

Where You’ll Study

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) dates from Amsterdam’s heyday in the 17th century when the city was one of the world’s most important ports and trading centers. The Athenaeum Illustre, which later became the University of Amsterdam, was founded in 1632. The University is spread out over various parts of the city center and is situated in old buildings and in modern high rises. UvA has an enrollment of more than 25,000 students and a strong commitment to international education, as reflected in its international student body and curriculum.

Housing & Meals

Housing is included in the program fee. Study abroad students are placed in single rooms in UvA or private residence halls, which have private or shared showers and kitchen facilities. Residence halls are all within a reasonable commute by foot, bike, or bus to the UvA and the center of Amsterdam. Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Meals may be taken at cafeterias and UvA restaurants, at restaurants throughout Amsterdam, or prepared in the residence’s kitchen facilities. All residence halls have RAs who take care of minor housing issues and organize activities throughout the semester.

A limited number of homestays with Dutch families are also available. This option provides an excellent opportunity for immersion in the local culture. The student has a furnished room and shares a kitchen, bathroom, and living area with the host family. Housing includes breakfast daily and at least one other meal per week with the family. All other meals are the responsibility of the student.

Students can also choose to live in The Student Hotel, the option most similar to an American dorm. This residence hall has close to 700 rooms available for international and Dutch students, and is located outside of the city center but offers several extras (student restaurant, gym and study facilities). There is limited availability in the Student Hotel.

Finally, students can choose to reside in shared student apartments where you share an apartment with one or more Dutch students. You will have your own private sleeping room, but depending on each apartment you might share the bathroom and kitchen. Availability depends on available rooms and a strong sense of independence is

Academic Program

The Social Sciences study abroad program at the University of Amsterdam was established in 1993. The CIEE program falls under the College of Social Sciences (CSS) which offers Bachelor’s level programs in English. CIEE students have choices among a number of humanities and social sciences courses. Students also have access to regular UvA courses taught in English if they meet the course prerequisites.

Academic Culture

Most classes offered at the University of Amsterdam are small in size, consisting of 30 students or less. Most meet twice a week: once for a two-hour lecture and once for a two-hour seminar or discussion class.

Classes comprised of so many different nationalities offer a wide range of perspectives. This diversity enables students to analyze and discuss issues from multiple viewpoints. Participation in the CIEE Study Center at the University of Amsterdam not only helps students develop a better comprehension of Europe in an international comparative perspective, but also enhances their ability to communicate with people from other countries, important in light of today’s globalization and increasingly international work environments. Approximately 50% of the international students at UvA are from Europe, 25% from the United States, and 25% from Canada, Australia, and countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

The University of Amsterdam operates on a semester calendar, with each semester consisting of two consecutive eight-week class periods. The University’s fall semester runs from the end of August to the end of December, and the spring semester runs from the beginning of February to the beginning of June.

The CIEE Study Center office is located on the Roetersstraat on the eastern side of the city centre, within close proximity to the UvA academic buildings.


CIEE classes are designed for CIEE study abroad participants only. UvA classes are open both to Dutch and to international students, although in many classes the majority is international.


CIEE offers a Beginning Dutch course in which students can learn the basics of Dutch language. If a student already has a background in the language, her or she can choose to take a language class at the Dutch language institute of the UvA (INTT).


The credit system is based on a student’s overall workload, including lectures, seminars, and independent study. In general, grades are based on a combination of class participation, oral presentations, papers, and/or written or oral examinations. Unlike in the U.S., grades are based on a numerical scale of one to 10, rather than letters. All CIEE participants receive a University of Amsterdam transcript listing course titles,final grades, and credits earned as well as the CIEE Academic Record which converts the grades to a U.S. grading scale.




CIEE faculty are associated with Dutch institutions of higher education. University courses are taught by University of Amsterdam faculty.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Spring 2015 09/15/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Later applications are always welcome, but colleges may need time to process your approval.