The second semester has started and we welcomed new students who are joining us for one semester. One of them is Farah, our newest blogger! Read about her first impressions and important lessons she learned in the first weeks in Amsterdam. Enjoy!
It’s been approximately two weeks since I arrived in Amsterdam; and so far, it has been great. Just as I was landing from my five-hour plane, I was able to overlook the city and how it's organized in a very cozy, aesthetically pleasant way. I got through passport control, quickly snatched my bag from the baggage claim, and there I was, outside Schiphol airport, excited, nervous, and definitely cold. I went directly to my studio. As I looked around, I became excited as I will decorate it the way I want. I left my bags and searched the best places to shop for cozy items to put there. I found that the best three are:
HEMA, a one-stop shop, definitely recommended for utensils and candles
Blokker, where you will find literally anything you’ll need for your home, and
IKEA, where I recommend you get storage equipment (which will be useful once you realize that Amsterdam homes aren’t that big) and definitely the ice-cream after.
The next day was the arrival fair at VU Amsterdam (BTW: unlike what I thought it was pronounced, which is the letter “V” then “U”, its pronounced here “the f-u”). I got there by public transportation, in which I must say, the transportation in Amsterdam is so easy, you’ll get the hang of it after 3 days (or one very long day). Once I got there, I was welcomed by the nicest people. I was able to finalize my course registration, get an insurance, and I got a really cute welcome pack, holding all the things I will need for my student life in Amsterdam. After I finished, that night I was able to go to the “Welcome Borrel”, and although I was very nervous considering that I didn’t know anyone there at the time, I met some very nice students. By getting to talk to them, I realized that all o us probably had the same feeling going into this. We all shared some tips and tricks on living in Amsterdam, like how it’s important to download the “9292” application, as it will make our lives easier dealing with transportation.
Some of the very important lessons I learned in my first two weeks include, but are not limited to:
Coffeeshops and cafés (or coffeehouse) are two completely different things. A café is a place to go drink coffee (like Starbucks). A coffeeshop is a place to buy hash or pot.
Never get dressed based on the weather in your room. It is always SO MUCH colder outside.
Never underestimate the blessings of an umbrella
Go to ALL welcome events. You will never understand how comforting it is to find people who are just as nervous as you are.
DON’T (I repeat, DON’T) walk in the bicycle lane. I learned that the hard way.
Don’t be too worried about the way, it’s always fun getting lost in this city.