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Settling in to student life in Amsterdam

The semester has officially started, friendships have been formed and the everyday life of being a student has truly begun. How is it to settle into student life in Amsterdam and what are the biggest impressions during these first weeks? Josefine shares her experiences.

I have now been in Amsterdam for three weeks, and somehow it feels like I’ve lived here for much longer but at the same time feels like these three weeks just flew by.

So much has happened these last three weeks, that I don’t even know where to begin.

I arrived in Amsterdam on August 20th, and moved in at Our Domain in Diemen. Diemen is sort of a suburb to Amsterdam but still just a 20 minute bike ride to VU or the center of Amsterdam. I am so happy with living in Our Domain Diemen. I have my own small studio with my own little kitchen and bathroom, but if you feel like socializing you can just go outside where there is both a study area and a game area. Also, the nature is so nice here, and there are beautiful parks just nearby, where I enjoy going for a walk or run. So even though it was hard to say goodbye to my family and boyfriend back home in Copenhagen, it didn’t take me long to adjust to this new life and to feel at home here.

Entrance to a market stall selling flowers and toys

First impressions

The first week was so overwhelming. So many new people, new impressions and having to speak English all the time, when it’s not your first language does take a lot of energy. The first week I went to a lot of introduction events – both practical such as campus tour, but also a lot of social events such as karaoke night and a city scavenger hunt. So there has been a lot of opportunities to meet fellow semester in Amsterdam-students as well as other exchange students and I have already made some new friends here.

Although it has been overwhelming, it has also been so great, and I’m so grateful, that I decided to jump out in this adventure. I’ve met people from all over the world, and it has been so fun getting to know people from all sorts of cultures and different backgrounds. Everybody is so nice and outgoing, and it has been so easy to meet new people and get friends here.

"We have been biking around a lot, going to markets, trying out the local foods, and walking along the canals."

Besides during the introduction program, I have also spent a lot of time exploring Amsterdam with my new friends. We have been biking around a lot, going to markets, trying out the local foods, and walking along the canals. Amsterdam is so incredibly beautiful, and the people here are so friendly and accommodating. At the VU and every store, restaurant, and café, I have been to, the people will just be so friendly and helpful and will ask questions about where I am from and engage in conversation with me. That is something I really enjoy about the Dutch people already, as I don’t always experience that kind of hospitality back in Copenhagen.

Woman smiling while cycling across a modern bridge

Now, my courses at the VU have started, and my mind is starting to realize, that I’m not just in Amsterdam for a vacation – the everyday life of a student has truly begun, and I can feel my spare time for hanging out with my friends getting cut back a lot. I’m doing three courses this first period (September-October) so I have made myself busy. Thankfully I find the courses interesting, so that’s good. Now I must find myself a work/life-balance so that I don’t find myself studying every minute of every day, but also find time to enjoy my time in Amsterdam and having some fun while I’m here.

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