Facilities: The UvA has four open campuses across the city, access is not restricted although the majority of classes will be at the campus of your faculty. These vary massively to one another, the Roeterseiland Campus where I study as a social science student is a massive site with numerous buildings, several study areas and a canteen whereas the Oudemanhuispoort site is a beautiful old building right in the centre but is only a single building with a few lecture halls and limited study spaces.
Accommodation: Epitomised in a word (nightmare) Due to the housing crisis in Amsterdam you are only able to apply for student housing in 1st year and even then it is not guaranteed. The quality of this housing is relatively low but the cheaper prices of 350 – 500 Euros per month instead of a room or studio for around 800 plus, anywhere near the centre. If you’re tight on money look to the outskirts or north for cheaper options.
Teaching: The lecturers are of a high standard and produce courses that stay up to date with new developments. The tutorial teachers are much more hit and miss, some being very inexperienced or unable to encourage open discussion. The small range of courses offered allows for a wider variety of modules within them and there is a good range of academic material integrated into them.
Diversity: The UvA has an incredibly international mix of students as is the case with Amsterdam as a whole. Although the composition of students varies significantly across courses.
Value: If you are able to pay EU fees it’s absolutely worth it given the quality of education and the opportunities available in Amsterdam, there are also a wide range of grants and loans available to these students. For students coming from outside the EU this is more debatable, financial aid is limited and the high costs of living make the value more debatable.
Student Life: Amsterdam is an incredibly vibrant and innovative city, you will make some great friends and contacts. There are a number of student-friendly places located near the campuses that offer more affordable options. The relatively small size of the city and location of the campuses create a buzz when out and about and make it easy to meet new people. Central areas of the city are more tailored to tourists.
Future prospects: UvA offers a wide range of internships and exchange programmes to boost your employability and experience towards the end of your studies. Some of these are highly competitive though and space is limited.