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Off-Campus Study

ACM Amsterdam: Science, Global Health, and Interdisciplinary Studies at VU Amsterdam

Amsterdam enjoys the reputation as the most bike-friendly capital in the world, a reflection of its manageable size and comfortable urban lifestyle. This diverse, exciting city boasts an international student population and lively music and arts scenes.

Along the city’s picturesque canals, discover unique neighborhoods, cafes and galleries, and historic architecture. See how sustainability and innovation are woven into the fabric of daily life in the Netherlands. English is widely spoken, and you’ll find that Amsterdam is filled with opportunities to make friends and engage with Dutch culture.

VU Amsterdam, where you will live and study, is best known for its strong life and earth science programs, especially global health, biology, biomedicine, neuroscience, and environmental science.

Program Type

Associated Colleges of the Midwest


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Languages of Instruction

English and Dutch

Program Dates

Fall 2018: Late August to Early December

All dates are tentative and may change.  ACM will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam period
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 


Since its rise to fame during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, Amsterdam has navigated periods of trial and triumph to make an everlasting mark on the world. Immerse yourself in this multicultural, historic city that embraces the advances of science, technology, and healthcare in an increasingly global society.

Several hundred years ago, Amsterdam established the most influential stock exchange in the world. Today, the city’s infrastructure continues to expand, opening up opportunities in business and tourism. With its architectural and cultural charm, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam attracts millions of foreign visitors every year, including students from all over the world.

Imagine study breaks spent cycling along beautiful canals, relaxing in Vondelpark, or visiting daily open-air markets. A stroll through Amsterdam’s unique neighborhoods will show you a variety of historic architecture and vintage shops, cafés, and art galleries. On weekends, you can expand your knowledge of Dutch history and culture by visiting Amsterdam’s famous Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank Haus, or Rijksmuseum.


The program includes a combination of the below courses:

  • Discover the Dutch language course (required)
  • Elective courses
  • Independent Study

Each course is worth 3 US credits; students need to take 15 credit hours to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.  Students can take a maximum of 18 credit hours (4.5 Lake Forest credits).

If your academic focus is in the sciences, this is an opportunity to continue taking courses in your major while studying abroad at a university that is internationally-known for its strong science programs. VU Amsterdam also offers a wide range of interdisciplinary areas of study, such as entrepreneurship, digital humanities, biological psychology, and transnational law and society.

With the ACM Amsterdam program’s emphasis on elective courses, you can explore a variety of academic areas or concentrate in one field as you choose from more than 300 courses taught in English. You can also go deeply into a subject of individual interest through an independent study project guided by the ACM visiting faculty director.

At the same time, you’ll have opportunities to explore Dutch language and culture in the program’s only required course, Discovering the Dutch. Build your understanding of commonly-used expressions and basic conversation skills so you can use them every day as you travel around the city, shop and go to restaurants, and talk with friends.

More information on course offerings can be found here.

Student Life

Explore Amsterdam and get involved in the VU Amsterdam community!

The Semester in Amsterdam program and the VU Amsterdam International Office organize a variety of social activities during the semester, including city tours, field trips to nearby cities, excursions to museums, meet and greets, dinner parties, museum tours, and other group outings. Learn more about the social program on the VU Amsterdam website.

For just five euros, you can also choose to participate in a variety of informal activities organized by the International Student Association.

Housing and Meals

Immerse yourself in the VU Amsterdam student experience by living on the student campus, Uilenstede. Uilenstede is home to both Dutch and international students. You’ll live in a private room with access to a private bathroom and a shared kitchen.

Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The estimated program fee for the ACM Amsterdam program includes orientation, housing, several day excursions, and insurance.

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018 semester:

Budget Item                             Amount        

Lake Forest College Tuition


Program Fee (estimated)


Program Deposit (credit)


    Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College 


Program Deposits to Lake Forest and ACM (non-refundable)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport,visas, 

immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses,

additional travel, etc.)

                        Total Out-of- Pocket Expenses  $5,750
                                                                Total  $33,110

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. This will be updated in March for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  Students pursuing internships/volunteer projects are highly competitive for Gilman awards, among others!

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php