Truth be told, my time in Amsterdam started off rather... unexpectedly. While on a bus from Paris to Amsterdam, my phone was stolen. I arrived in the city with no way to contact my friends & family, translate the language, or navigate the public transportation system. I was scared and upset, absolutely certain that my time in Amsterdam was ruined before it even began.
My misfortune, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I hopped off the bus, took a deep breath, and kept going. I bought a metro ticket for what looked like the center of the city, got off, and walked to the nearest hotel. I sat in the lobby and connected my laptop to the WiFi, updated my loved ones on my whereabouts, and got walking directions to my friends’ apartment. Traveling without a phone was not ideal, but it certainly was empowering. I had no choice but to trust myself and live completely in the moment.
This was obviously a worst-case-scenario situation. Losing something so valuable does not happen frequently, but it can happen (abroad or at home!) and you should be prepared for that. I’m writing this to remind you that you can handle whatever crazy situation gets thrown your way; if we let every small danger in the world stop us, we’d never get to experience the incredible beauty it has to offer.
That said, I had a fantastic time exploring Amsterdam. If you find yourself wandering along the canals of the Netherlands’ capital city, here are three of my favorite spaces:
1. EyeFilm Museum
This ultra-modern museum hosts temporary exhibitions of multimedia art, and a permanent collection of old cameras. The set-up takes you through the history of film -- from early optical illusions to modern technology.
2. Moco Museum
In typical Amsterdam fashion, the Moco Museum is an alternative viewing experience for modern, contemporary & street art. Housed in a small home, the museum is overflowing with impressive artwork from artists like Banksy and Andy Warhol. Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid standing in a queue out the door!
3. Van Gogh Museum
Needless to say, the Van Gogh Museum has an awe-inspiring collection of Vincent’s work. The space comprises several floors of breathtaking art and heartfelt letters to his family and fellow artists. If you do nothing else, be sure to hit this spot.
Search CEA study abroad programs in Amsterdam.
Abigail Haley is the Fall 2018 Alumni Ambassador in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Ithaca College.