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3 posts from December 2013

12/19/2013

Fall 2013, Issue III

Newsletter Banner Amsterdam

The Farewell Issue

Looking Back

It's an oft-repeated cliché, but time does fly, especially in the fall, when the days get steadily shorter, darker, and -- in the case of many of our students -- a little sadder as the day they depart the Netherlands and return to the US draws near. This entire week, students have been coming by the office to say their goodbyes and, in the spirit of paying it forward, they have been leaving items that they no longer have any use for: from drying racks to hair dryers and used textbooks, our students have clearly been struck by a charitable impulse (that or the weight limit on their baggage!). 

What our students will be taking home with them, apart from some hard-earned credits, is a stockpile of memories, some of which they collected by themselves, while others were shared with other CIEE students during one of the many CIEE activities that we organized this past term. Since the second issue of this newsletter, our students have had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving (in the historic Schreierstoren, the very location that Henry Hudson departed from on his journey to North America), to explore the unique Bijlmer neighborhood of Amsterdam, and to tour the cities of Den Bosch and Eindhoven in the South of the country (replete with Bossche bollen!).

We capped off the semester with a Farewell Meeting, during which we not only informed students about such exciting topics as checking out of their housing and the many steps that go into producing a US transcript, but which also included yearbook-style polling (who would be most likely to live in Amsterdam for the rest of their lives; who might go on to become President of the United States, or even more prestigious pursuits such as, say, work for CIEE?) and a re-entry presentation that tried to prepare students for the "reverse culture shock" they may have to deal with when they arrive back home. We ended the evening in style, with a Farewell Dinner where everyone had the opportunity to say their goodbyes over some of the best food Amsterdam has to offer.

Farewell Dinner

Looking Ahead

At the same time we are closing the books on one semester, we have been hard at work at preparing the next, which will begin in the last week of January. Although the foundation will remain the same, we are proud to be introducing a number of new additions to the program. First and foremost, we are adding two new courses to our roster of in-house courses: CIEE Dutch Business Culture and CIEE Beginning Dutch. The former is a natural extension of our Business and Culture program and will take an in-depth look at the business climate in the Netherlands, using Dutch businesses as case studies. The latter is the result of CIEE's continued commitment to having our students learn the fundamentals of the Dutch language and will represent a new and pragmatic approach to learning Dutch.

These two courses will join CIEE Contemporary Dutch Social Policy and CIEE Dutch Culture, our longstanding core courses, which means that our Spring 2014 students will now have four CIEE courses to choose from, along with our ever-expanding selection of Social Sciences and Business and Economics courses. Secondly, we are looking into launching a brand-new interest group: CIEE Book Club, which will have students and staff read books on aspects of Dutch and American life, after which we will sit down together to compare notes and reflect on the differences that separate, but also the ties that bind, our two countries and peoples.

For now, it is with a slightly heavy heart and a smile on our faces that we say goodbye to the Fall 2013 group, hoping (and trusting) that they will carry their memories and experiences of this past semester with them wherever they go.

The group says bye

Jonathan Key

Program Coordinator Social Sciences

Jonathan (small) (3)

12/17/2013

A GRANT TOUR OF THE DUTCH MUSEUMS

I thought I would write my blog for CIEE about one of my top goals in Amsterdam - to see as many museums as possible, if not all of them. So I bought a museum card, which is an amazing deal because it's only 50 euro for most museums in the entire Netherlands (and only 30 euro if you buy a youth pass). I knew it would quickly be a smart purchase because most museums in Amsterdam are about 15 euro.

Because my class schedule is spread out across the day 4 days a week, I started going to smaller museums between classes. For instance, I spent 2 hours at the Verzetsmuseum between my Thursday CIEE classes. It is a great museum that is extremely informative and nicely set up. I learned a lot there and understood why it's so well reviewed. Highly recommend it.

I have also seen the Anne Frank House, Willet-Holtheuysen House, Amsterdam Museum (which I have since gone back to for their nice Mondriaan exhibit), Museum Van Loon, The Museum of Handbags and Purses, The Jewish Historical Museum, Nemo, The Maritime Museum, Allard Pierson Museum, Royal Palace at the Dam Square, Rembrandthuis, Tropenmuseum, Eye Museum, and the Hermitage Museum (and probably some others I can't think of right now).Rijks

I would consider the Hermitage to be my favorite museum in Amsterdam. There have been two large exhibits there this semester: one about Peter the Great and one about Gauguin, Bonnard, and Denis in Russian art collections prior to the 1917 Revolution. I have gone to the latter exhibit multiple times because it is so gorgeous. There is this one room in the exhibit called the music room that is covered with Denis murals and it is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen in art.

On Tuesday and the weekends, I have gone and continue to go to the bigger museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Stedelijk Museum (which I have gone to a many times, including to see their in depth and awesome Malevich exhibit).MalevichOne of my other goals while studying abroad in the Netherlands is to see as many Dutch cities as possible, which ties together nicely with my museum plan. In Haarlem I saw the Teylers Museum (the oldest museum in the Netherlands and is really cool - right out of an Indiana Jones movie), the Frans Hals Museum and the Corrie ten Boom house. In Den Haag, I have the seen Prince William V Gallery, the Peace Palace Museum, and the Mesdag Collection. In Den Bosch, I visited the Het Noordbrabants Museum. In Groningen, the Groninger Museum. In Delft, Museum Paul Tetar van Elven. And in Rotterdam, I went to the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen which is a first class museum and absolutely worth visiting.Bojmans

I could not be happier with the abundance of art and other kinds of museums in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the museum card has made this all possible which has worked out perfectly. Otherwise I would have spent hundreds of euros on museum. For anyone reading this, if you have not gone to any of the museums and do have the opportunity to, especially if you have the museum card, I recommend you go even if just for a quick visit. Unfortunately I do not think I'll be able to visit every museum in Amsterdam, but I am really happy with how many I have gone to and how much I have learned about art, culture, and other things like handbags.

Grant Johnson

12/12/2013

Thanksgiving!

What happens when you are studying abroad and miss the best American holiday of the year? Well, of course CIEE makes the second best Thanksgiving you could ever have!

On Thanksgiving, we got together at the Schreierstoren, one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam for dinner! We had to bring a dish so that everyone had plenty to eat. I had never cooked Thanksgiving dinner before so I had some trouble coming up with what to make. I finally decided on mashed potatoes with another student and we made so many. I never got to try them, but I hope they turned out well!

Thanksgiving

At dinner, we all were able to talk with RA’s, teachers, CIEE staff, and even meet some of the homestay families! It was weird not being with family on Thanksgiving, but it was so much fun to be with my new family away from home.

The dinner was amazing! We had turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, and even pumpkin pie. Everyone ate so much and I think the Dutch guests were curious as to why we would eat until we wanted to go to bed. Nonetheless, it was a lovely evening that everyone really put something into. It made it more special that we all cooked. I am so thankful for all of the new friends and experiences in Amsterdam, and CIEE Thanksgiving was the perfect evening to remind me of that.

Maddie Pearse - College of Charleston