Student Report – Vrije University

Student Report – Vrije University
Name of university: Vrije Universiteit
Exhange semester: Fall 2012
The Vrije Universiteit is a university in Amsterdam. The university is located in the southern part of
Amsterdam in the Buitenveldert district. The VU has about 23.000 students, most of whom are fulltime students. The VU was founded in 1880. Vrije Universiteit literally means «Free University» to
signify freedom from both government and church.
The University is divided into 12 faculties, which offer a great variety of bachelor`s and master`s
and Ph.D programs in many fields. These faculties are:
- Arts
- Dentistry
- Earth science and life science
- Economics and business
- Human movement
- Law
- Medicine
- Philosophy
- Physiology and pedagogy
- Exact science
- Social science
- Theology
In the 2012 QS World University rankings placed Vrije Universitet at 177st overall in the world.
Information before you left
Necessary information about registration and other practical matters are received during the spring
and summer. After being accepted, the student coordinator at the International Office will keep in
touch with you via e-mail and provide the information you need before you leave.
Visa procedures and travel experiences
As a member of the EU/EEA you will not need a visa nor residence permit to study in the
Netherlands. Flight tickets to Amsterdam can be ordered using airlines such as Norwegian, SAS or
KLM. When you arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a train ticket to the city center can be
bought for around 5 euro.
Academic calendar and reception
I arrived 20 august, some days before the introduction events. This is a really good opportunity to
meet people in the exact same situation as you. But there are a lot of other students arriving after the
organized introduction days as well. But I recommend you to join these days. The first lectures take
place in the first week of September, and during this week an orientation meeting for exchange
students is held. The meeting starts off with a formal welcome speech, but quickly ends up in the
faculty bar. The examination period is in the end of the different periods. NB! Be sure to divide the
course load between the blocks to avoid bad study periods.
To assist international students in finding appropriate accommodation, the university has signed
agreements with the housing corporation DUWO. If you have opportunity, book a room at
Uilenstede. 5 minutes from VU University and 20 minutes from the city center. This is the place
were most of the exchange students live.
Relative to Norway, but housing and living expenses are lower. Personally, I paid 390 euro for a
private room with shared kitchen. Books and study material are in general priced at the same level
as in Norway, but not all courses require a book. In some courses you only need a cheap reader that
is available at the school.
The international office
The international office is located in the main building, and has a staff with scheduled office hours.
It was not a problem to drop by if guidance was needed outside this time frame.
Social activities
The social life is FANTASTIC, there are at lot of exchange students facing the same situation, and
everyone wants to know you. ISN arranges as mentioned an introduction for exchange students in
the end of August and continues to host parties and other social activities throughout the semester.
Culture and language
Amsterdam is a city with a marvelous atmosphere that gives you many opportunities to experience
culture. The Dutch people are similar to Norwegians and most inhabitants of Amsterdam and Dutch
students speak English very well, so the language will not be a barrier. However, if you want to
learn some Dutch while you are on exchange, both VU and ISN arrange language courses before
and during the semester.
You need a bike!! Even though the city has an extensive transport system, including trams, buses
and trains, it is more effective to travel using a bike.
The teaching situation
All courses available for exchange students are taught in English, and the level of study compared
to BI is demanding. Most courses have a setup with lectures and tutorials. The professors are using
a mix of cases, group work and lectures. The workload compared to BI is definitely harder (be
aware of this). The communication between faculty and students is very good, and the professors
encourage two-way communication in the lectures. They respond quickly and well to your
questions. The relationship between the students in the classroom is very good, with a fantastic
international environment.
Required literature
The literature is in English, and the level of the literature is similar to the literature used at BI. The
literature is used for detailed knowledge and the exam is based on both literature and lecture slides.
But this varies between the courses.
I was given both written and multiple choice exams. They ask you about detailed questions so you
pretty much need to focus on all of the literature.
The students have easy access to the library and it`s resources and the access to the computers is
very good. The IT is used in pretty much everything when it comes to distribution of information.
Description of courses
Strategy and environment
Advanced HRM
Financial Management
Corporate finance
Organization Design
For more information I advise you to visit: