Why Study Abroad in Amsterdam

Programs for this blog post

Business + Culture

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College Study Abroad

Dubbed the cultural capital of the Netherlands and considered one of the top financial centers in Europe, the opportunity to study abroad in Amsterdam promises a diverse and exciting experience.  

If living and learning in the “City of Canals” intrigues you, keep reading to learn why studying abroad in Amsterdam is the adventure of a lifetime! 

Five Reasons to Study Abroad in Amsterdam  

There are so many reasons why throngs of international students are drawn to Amsterdam each year. This charming city boasts historical attractions, a lively art scene, exceptional architecture, and beautiful natural landscapes, just to name a few. 

Let’s unpack five of the top reasons students choose Amsterdam as the backdrop of their study abroad journey. Caution: You too will no doubt be convinced to study abroad in Amsterdam. And don’t say we didn’t warn you!  

Reason #1: Experience a vibrant multicultural city.  

The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam has one of the most internationally diverse populations in the world, featuring 180 different nationalities in the city alone! Immersing yourself in a cross-cultural city like this will help you enhance your global perspective and learn a lot from others of different backgrounds.  

This diversity lends itself to a vibrant experience fit for a study abroad adventure. You’ll have so much fun enjoying all this city has to offer and will definitely want to take in open-air movie screenings, live music, plays, flea markets, art exhibitions, and much more.  

studying abroad in amsterdam colorful houses

Reason #2: Explore a rapidly developing business district.  

Amsterdam is a fun and bustling economic hub. Home to The Amsterdam Stock Exchange and companies ranging from startups to corporate giants; there are a lot of different organizations to explore.  

In an increasingly globalized world, the better you understand business and the complexities of an international market, the more competitive you’ll be when applying for jobs. And Amsterdam is the place to be to get firsthand experience. Who knows, your experience in Amsterdam may be the starting point for your own entrepreneurial endeavors!  

Reason #3: Go on our enviable excursions.  

In addition to stellar academic courses, unique living quarters, and a chance to make lifelong friends, study abroad in Amsterdam with CIEE and you will have the chance to go on a variety of excursions and activities.  

Join on us on trips to: 

  • Groningen: This energized city boasts endless cafes, museums, and festivals while surrounded by breathtaking countryside and gardens 
  • Canal belt: More than 165 waterways maintained by a system 400+ years old make up the canal belt; here you’ll enjoy a cruise with views of gorgeous, surrounding Canal Houses  
  • The countryside: Home to medieval castles, authentic fisherman towns, and pockets of villages significant to the Netherlands’ history 
  • The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo: A historical park packed with awesome animals  

Plus, you’ll get to do your own exploring as well! There’s so much to do in this colorful city.  

Reason #4: Get to know Amsterdam’s unique history 

Centuries-old Amsterdam is a well-preserved historical relic with a past that shapes its modern culture.  

The city offers a variety of world-renowned attractions centered around Dutch artists, historical periods, natural landscapes, and more, like: 

  • The Van Gogh Museum: One of the most visited locations in the Netherlands and home to the works of one of the most influential and famous artists in Western art history 
  • Rijksmuseum: Home to hundreds of Dutch creations, primarily art from the 17th century 
  • Anne Frank’s House: A notable home that symbolizes bravery and resiliency during an egregious period of Danish history   
  • Dutch Tulips: Feast your eyes on the millions of tulips that bloom throughout Amsterdam each year 
  • Royal Palace of Amsterdam: An impressive structure built in the 17th century  

Speaking of which, the 17th-century architecture throughout the city is something to behold with its narrow gable-roofed residences and striking colors!  

Reason #5: Take part in our many projects and opportunities.  

In our Amsterdam study abroad programs, you’ll have access to all sorts of creative ways to dive into Amsterdam’s culture and get to know the people that make up this exceptional city.  

Depending on your interests, you can take part in some of our volunteer or workshop options, including:  

  • Improving your Dutch and volunteering to teach English once a week at a local Amsterdam school  
  • Joining our Power and Privilege workshop to better understand the uneven distribution of power and privilege in the Netherlands 
  • Joining our Student Representative Council and helping shape our Amsterdam study abroad programs 
  • Spending a weekend with a Dutch family and living the Dutch lifestyle personally 

amsterdam biking tour

Bonus Reason: The food!  

There are so many reasons you’ll love Amsterdam that we haven’t even mentioned the Dutch food! So, whether you’re diving into the multicultural scene, brushing up on your Amsterdam history, or participating in our fabulous excursions and volunteer projects, you’ll have inviting cafés and restaurants to visit throughout the city to help you refuel and recharge.  

Here are a few traditional Dutch foods that are an absolute must-try:  

  • Poffertje: A small pancake typically served with butter and sugar 
  • Stroopwafel: A unique cookie that looks like a waffle  
  • Gouda: The Netherlands is one of the largest cheese exporters in the world and is particularly known for its gouda cheese; you absolutely must try this authentic delicacy ... it’s pretty gouda  
  • Rookworst: A delicious smoked sausage 
  • Drop: A unique type of licorice – much different than what you may be used to in the U.S. 
  • Herring: A staple of Dutch cuisine, this fish is compared to tuna or similar white fish  

Read More: Eat, Drink, Explore: Amsterdam 

Explore CIEE Amsterdam’s Study Abroad Options  

We offer an exciting mix of remarkable Amsterdam study abroad options each year. Take note of our program details, including length, requirements, and course highlights.  

Business + Culture

Our Business + Culture program in Amsterdam is a wonderful opportunity to explore the city’s many businesses and economic innovations.  

  • Program length: 18 weeks  
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 3.0 Overall GPA  
  • Course Highlight: Business and Sustainability in the Netherlands 

amsterdam study abroad students sitting by canal


Do something different this upcoming winter and spend your January exploring Amsterdam!  

  • Program length: Three weeks 
  • Credit: 3 semester hours / 4.5 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Course Highlight: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Popular Culture 

Interested in Dutch society, politics, and culture? Look no further than our semester-long study abroad program in Amsterdam.  

  • Program length: 18 weeks 
  • Eligibility: 3.0 Overall GPA 
  • Course Highlight: Beginning Dutch  

If you’re passionate about global healthcare and learning the intricacies of other public health systems around the world, make sure to check out this option that takes place in both London and Amsterdam.  

  • Program length: Eight weeks 
  • Credit: 6 total semester hours / 9 total quarter hours  
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Course Highlight: Contemporary Challenges in Global Health  

If you’re interested in language, politics, and culture, Amsterdam is the perfect multicultural city to not only learn about these topics, but also gain firsthand experience inside the culture. 

  • Program length: Four weeks 
  • Credit: 3-4 per session semester hours / 4.5-6 per session quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Course Highlight: Intercultural Communication and Leadership  

Each of our program costs vary, of course, but we do offer millions in scholarships and grants each year. Depending on the program that best aligns with your personal and academic goals, make sure to check out what financial aid you’re eligible for ahead of time. Have questions? Contact us! 

study abroad amsterdam beach walk

Get on Your Way 

An Amsterdam study abroad program is the experience of a lifetime – take the next step today!