Studying Abroad in Amsterdam with Raelissa Glennon '17

March 14, 2016

Raelissa Glennon

Raelissa filled us in on studying abroad in the Netherlands — and her favorite saying in Dutch!

What's your major at Simmons?

I'm double majoring in English literature and women's and gender studies and minoring in philosophy.

Where are you studying abroad?

I'm spending the spring semester in Amsterdam, the Netherlands at the Vrije Universiteit (VU). I've always wanted to travel, so when I found a program for undergraduate students to study law abroad, I jumped at the chance. Since I want to pursue a legal career, this is the perfect chance for me to explore a bit more of international law. 

What was the application process like to study abroad? 

The application through the Center for Global Education and IES Abroad was rather time-consuming. However, with support from both institutions, I was able to feel confident in my ability to submit all the necessary paperwork on time! 

What's it like studying in Amsterdam? What classes are you taking? 

I really do love Amsterdam — so being here as a student is more than I could have asked for. The Dutch education system is much more focused on treating students as fully functioning adults who have to study independently, speak up in class and make their own academic connections. I'm currently taking Competition Law through the VU and will take Philosophy of International Law and Sex Work in the Times of Anti-Trafficking in the next period. 

What's your favorite thing you've done in Amsterdam so far? 

One of my favorite activities has been exploring the markets in the city! The Albert Cuyp Markt is the largest open air daily market in Europe while IJ-Hallen is the best place to find anything from quirky sweaters to antique tea sets. 

What's your favorite thing you've eaten? 

There are fry stands on every corner in Amsterdam — my favorite one makes what they call "Vlaamse frites." Add some Dutch mayonnaise and I am the happiest American in the Netherlands. 

Do you bike everywhere? 

I do bike a fair amount! My course is about 30 minutes from where I live, so I've learned to pedal with the best of the Dutch bikers in a very short amount of time. My favorite stretch takes me along the Amstel River and a local windmill. 

Do you have any favorite sayings in Dutch?

I'm still picking up bits and pieces of Dutch as I interact with locals, but I would have to say that "tot ziens!" is a short, sweet way to say goodbye. Apparently there's a Dutch habit of using "niet mogelijk" (not possible) when there is something they simply do not want to do, but I have yet to encounter it! 

What's your Simmons Moment?

Hosting the Bread & Roses event last year. As I stood at the front of the Kotzen Room introducing speakers and moderating the question and answer period, I was struck by the deep commitment that Simmons students have to activism and constant social improvement. The support for these students was overwhelming and felt so deserved given the amount of effort they had each put into their work in their various organizations and programs. I am proud to attend a college that encourages such individuality and forward-thinking in its students, even going so far as to create an event dedicated to their work.