Alexandria M. Field School Ambassador

What is one word to describe your study abroad experience:

Netherlands Field School - Breathtaking

"You can always make your money back, you will never be young and riding a bicycle along the coast of the Netherlands again."

Alexandria M on a field school in the Netherlands



Netherlands Field School participant
Duration of Field School: 2 weeks
Summer semester
Studying Arts and Science [Psychology and Neuroscience]

  1. What did a typical day in this Field School look like?

We would wake up early (around 8am), get ready for the day. We would meet downstairs in the lobby and go to our first activity together (e.g., a museum or tour). We would have some time between activities to explore the city and eat. Once the activities for the day were over, we would wander the city and do whatever we wanted to. it was so much fun.

  1. What did you have to do for the course component of this Field School? How did it impact your degree?

Our final grade was based on four assignments; participation in the course, two group projects, and a final report. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts and Science which is a very interdisciplinary degree so this experience was perfect for me. I had the opportunity to learn about so many different topics; history, politics, culture, and more. It was interesting to step outside of my academic comfort zone and learn from my peers made up of a variety of university majors. This experience is something I will cherish and take with me in the future.

  1. What did you think of your Field School coordinator?

Julie Simmons is an amazing human being. She is down to earth and very knowledgeable. I felt supported and safe the entire trip and knew I could come to her for anything. Before, during, and after the field school. If we had a problem, she was only a text away. She lived in the country for two years, so she is familiar with the customs, public transportation, and the surroundings. I also felt supported knowing that I could contact the CIP office at any time and someone would be able to help me.

  1. How many other U of G students did you travel with? And what did you think of travelling with other students?

Our field school was quite small; one professor and 14 students. Traveling with this group of Guelph students was amazing. I wasn't able to make friends my first year of university because I was studying from my bedroom. I met people I otherwise would never see. Plus, it was a small group which allowed us to really get to know each other.

  1. How did you interact with the local community during your Field School?

We went to an outdoor market that is frequently visited by a diverse crowd of people. Using public transportation also gave me a glimpse into what it was like to live as a Dutch person. It was also obvious that the Dutch LOVE Canadians, so all of our interactions were friendly. It seemed like the locals were very used to having tourists around so they were willing to help if you had questions.

  1. What influenced your decision to participate in a Field School opportunity?

I wanted to travel and make up for some lost credits so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I wanted to travel and learn at the same time. I did not want to go during the school year because some countries have different structures for their semesters. I also did not want to take months off from my part-time job. A summer field school seemed like the perfect answer.

  1. What was the best thing that happened during your field school? Explain.

We went to the Anne Frank house. It was like being transported through history. You really get to experience what it must have been like to live in the annex.

  1. Where was the coolest place you traveled to during your study abroad experience?  

We went to so many cool places, it’s hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed the Van Gogh museum. I gained a deeper understanding of Van Gogh's life as a person and as an artist.

  1. What was the biggest cultural adaptation you had to make?  

Dutch people are very blunt and customer service looks very different. Canadians tend to be polite and willing to serve, not the Dutch. Be prepared to pay the bill in full and then split it with your friends later, most restaurants in Amsterdam will not split the bill for you. And they will cut you off on their bicycles.

  1. What was your best learning moment?

I learned the most when we visited the peace palace, the temporary Binnenhof site, and the international criminal court. I went into this experience with zero knowledge of international relations and know I know more than I could have imagined.

  1. If you were to recommend this field school to your best friend, what would you say?

Just do it. You will not regret a thing.

  1. Would it be helpful to learn another language for this Field School? 

Not really. It seems like all Dutch people speak English fluently.

  1. How did you finance your study abroad experience?

OSAP for the tuition portion and a GSO travel grant.

  1. What are your packing recommendations?

DO: reusable bag, journal, comfortable shoes, light layers

  1. Is there any other helpful information you would like to share with future study abroad participants?  

You can always make your money back, you will never be young and riding a bicycle along the coast of the Netherlands again.

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