Exploring Amsterdam

Anh-Thu Vo is a 4th year Global Security & Justice and African & African American Studies double major. She studied last fall semester at the University of Amsterdam and learned a lot about its culture and history during her time there. Take a look at some of the photos she has shared!

This is a street in Haarlem located very close to the Haarlem train station. This walk way is quite unique because of the colors. Typically, Dutch sidewalks are made of cobble stone and various shades of brown and red. In this case the side walk is painted the colors of the rainbow bring color even on the rainiest of days.

This is a photo of Gouda cheese in a cheese shop in Amsterdam. Gouda cheese is the most popular cheese within the Netherlands. Although the name of the cheese is Gouda, the cheese is actually not produced in this city but in the surrounding area. It is called Gouda because this cheese was traditionally sold in the market in Gouda.

This photo is taken in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Johan Cruijff ArenA is home to AFC Ajax, Amsterdam’s soccer team. This is the largest stadium in the Netherlands. Not only is it home to AFC Ajax, this arena is also home to the Dutch national soccer team. Furthermore, this arena is transformed during the off season into a concert venue where many artist have performed.

Within Zaandam [a city right by Amsterdam], you can find Zaanse Schans which looks like a 18th and 19th century Dutch town. There are historic windmills here.

This is a photo of raw herring (right) and smoked eel (left). One of the most famous Dutch dishes is raw herring. Dutch often complement the raw herring with pickles and onions. Smoked eel is a specialty in Volendam, which is where this photo was taken.

This is a photo of Muiden Castle in Muiderslot, which is a 15 minute drive from Amsterdam. This castle was built in the 13th century by Count Floris V and was along the trade route between Utrecht and Amsterdam. One of the most notable owners of Muiden was P.C. Hooft, one of the most important Dutch scholars.

This is a photo of the front of Oudemanhuispoort, which is the old law faculty at the University of Amsterdam. In the center of the courtyard is the bust of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, law, and justice.

This is a photo of the metro in Amsterdam. In the Netherlands, all Dutch students can travel by public transit for free while they are in school. Despite this fact, many students that live within biking distance still travel by bike.

This is a photo of my bike in Amsterdam. Biking is the primary mode of transit in Amsterdam. There are more bikes in the city than people.

This is a night photo of a canal near Negen Straatjes, which is a boutique shopping area in Western Amsterdam.



Semester at Sea: Photos from Around the World

Kalea Obermeyer, a 3rd year majoring in Youth and Social Innovation, studied this past fall semester on the Semester at Sea program. She went to several countries on various continents, enabling her to learn about different cultures and corners of the world. She took many pictures along the way!

East Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany. I took this photo of one of the more famed paintings on the recreation of the Berlin Wall. The East Side Gallery attempts to model the intense contrast on either side of the Berlin Wall when a divided Germany fought for common ground. The painted side of the wall was a means to communicate liberty and freedom of speech against the east side of communism and oppression.

Tema, Ghana. This photo of a casket was taken to show how differently Ghanaian funerals are conducted compared to the United States. In Ghana, a funeral isn’t so much a mourning ceremony as it is a celebration of someone’s life and an embodiment of the joy the deceased person carried in life. Mourners will often wear black or red to a funeral (white if they’re an elder and revered in the community), and rather than have just the family attend, the entire community will. The more people at someone’s funeral, the more they’re said to have brought positive change and impact to the community.

Nzulezu Stilt Village, Ghana. This is a photo of me (front) and the rest of my tour group kayaking up the Nzulezu River on our way back from the Nzulezu Stilt Village. Steven, our tour guide at the front of the kayak, was able to tell us all about how the village weathers storms, gets fresh water from non-profits and tour groups like ourselves, and makes the most of minimal resources to raise families and educate their children. I had the great fortune of seeing the local village children perform a cultural dance and hear from their head council member about their wonderful community.


Valencia, Spain. This photo was taken while on a tour in Spain, nestled between hidden valleys and hiking trails. My tour guide moved to Spain 20 years ago from Canada to follow his dream of working in hospitality and giving back to the local community. He chose to be a tour guide because after realizing his passion for the outdoors in Canada, he wanted to challenge himself to start a business in a completely different country. His biggest piece of advice? “Find what makes you most happy and turn your passion into a job.”

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, India. Monkeys could be found on every corner in Jaipur, even atop fort towers such as this one here at Nahargarh Fort. Nahargarh Fort overlooks the entirety of Jaipur, with bustling streets and homes far beneath the hilltop.

Kathakali Show, Kochi, India. In Kathakali shows, performers use facial expressions and hand movements to communicate different emotions rather than elaborate dance moves. The makeup used during these shows helps elaborate the smiles, frowns, and eye movements of the performance.

Mauritius’s coral reefs are some of the most magnificent in the world. However, they face impending endangerment because of the oxybenzone found in sunscreen. Whether locals or tourists use sunscreen in the ocean, or have it wash off their body in the shower, the chemicals find their way back to the sea and damage existing coral reefs. Now countries are taking a firmer stand to curb reef pollution.

Fairy Glen Game Reserve, South Africa. Fairy Glen is home to the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo), all kept on the reservation to evade harms way from poachers. Poachers in South Africa have decimated rhino and African elephant numbers in search of their ivory tusks. The rhino in this picture here is unfortunately a surviving victim. 

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. Now a bustling waterfront mall and tourist attraction, the V&A Waterfront is partially stationed on land formerly known as District 6. District 6 was a community primarily of people of color forced to relocate during Apartheid. 

Jinshanling, Great Wall of China, Beijing, China. We hiked 6 miles of the Great Wall in 4 hours. In the early morning, we were able to see the sun rise in a pink haze above the valleys surrounding the wall. The fog never dissipated as the hours drew on, but the view remained remarkable.

Osaka, Japan. Streets like this can be found throughout cities like Osaka and Tokyo, with advertisement for local foods, barber shops, toy stores, and more nestled in the alleyways of busy district corridors. This photo was taken right outside the hostel of where my group and I stayed for the duration of our time in Osaka.  



Pictures in Singapore

Dorothy Wang, a computer science major, studied this past spring semester during her 3rd year on the UVA Exchange: National University of Singapore program. She spent some of her time taking photos through which to share her experience, so take a look at them below!

People enjoying a nice break from the rain in the Chinese Gardens.

Silosa Beach at Sentosa Island, the southernmost point of the continental Asia.

The tallest indoor waterfall in the world at 38 meters (Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay)

Biking around Marina Barrage, Singapore’s 15th reservoir.

Lotus flowers outside Singapore’s lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum.

Singapore adds life to the concrete jungle that it is with colorful buildings and murals – this particular example is in Holland Village.

Late night dim sum

A bird owner taking down his cages from a morning at the Kebun Baru Bird Corner

Glimpses of the Netherlands

Seena Honarvar studied in Rotterdam, Netherlands last spring semester as a 3rd year studying economics and commerce. He enjoyed having new cultural experiences abroad and took many pictures along the way. Keep scrolling to see some of what he has shared!



The second lecture: Strategic Management

The famous cube houses in Rotterdam city center!

Primary government building in Rotterdam.

Interior of a crafty thrift shop in Rotterdam

First flakes of snow in Kralingen!

New age Rotterdam apartment complexes, built after World War 2 bombings.

Tribute statue to Jacobus Henricus Van’t Hoff, Dutch chemist

Iconic Rotterdam Markthall from inside

Old style Dutch windmill by Kralingen Lake