It is Monday morning 6:00 am May 23rd when our very first summer student e-mailes us to ask: ‘I’m at Schiphol Airport, where is the meeting point again?’. Right there and then, we officially kicked off the CIEE Amsterdam Summer 2016-program and we welcomed many more students that day, for their summer program here in the beautiful Amsterdam!
Following the hustle and bustle of orientation, with the highlight being the daytrip to the medieval city of Amersfoort, the students started their courses; Contemporary Dutch Social Policy and Dutch Business and Culture. And, after that 1st week of getting to know each other, getting to know Amsterdam and making their first attempts at biking, the students really started to settle in.
Last week, which was the 2nd week of the program, we went on an overnight excursion to Leiden and Haarlem. The city of Leiden is home to over 23.000 students and has the university as its biggest employer. Filled with numerous canals and beautiful 17th-century buildings, Leiden is also called a mini-version of Amsterdam. Plus, the city is famous for being Rembrandt’s birthplace, where the guide is pointing the students to on the picture below:
After the city walk, the lunch and the boat tour, we embarked on our next adventure: the city of Haarlem! The lovely Stayokay hostel there was our home for the night and everyone got the time to explore this town by themselves. Haarlem is a classic Dutch city, just a bit to the north of Amsterdam. It has a lot to offer in a compact area: cobbled streets, historic buildings, grand churches, museums, cozy bars, cafes, and of course canals. For centuries Haarlem has been a market town, buzzing with shoppers heading home with fresh bouquets, nowadays by bike.
The next morning, we visited a local open air markets and the students got to try Dutch finest cuisine: raw herring with pickles, Gouda cheese, Leiden sausages, licorice, and of course… stroopwafels!
Last stop was the beach, and there was no way the weather could stop us! A short walk with some occasional toe dipping in the cold water brought us to the dunes, where we had some hot chocolate.
The bus driver safely brought us back into busy Amsterdam.
The travelling ain’t over till it’s over: the next excursion on the program will bring our summer students just a hop and a skip further away: their ICE-weekend will be in Dublin!
Judith de Lange Student Services Coordinator CIEE-Amsterdam