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Amsterdam & Paris

Colorful tulips, narrow canals, and smiling locals riding bicycles welcome you to Amsterdam, where stories like Anne Frank’s and Vincent Van Gough’s came to life. Continue on to Paris, where you will wander tree-lined boulevards and gaze up at the Eiffel tower, following in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest artists, philosophers, and writers who once experienced the city as students just like you.





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

Traveler tip: You'll be traveling by train from Amsterdam to Paris, where very limited luggage space is available. With that in mind, we highly recommend a carry-on for your travels.

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

The best things in the world are free (like seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $40 to $60 per day for pocket money. This will cover lunch each day, four dinners, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Euro. You can exchange money before you leave, but we recommend just withdrawing some cash from an ATM when you arrive.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: Country-hopping means hotel-hopping, but don’t worry; each hotel is safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms. Hotels are typically 30–45 minutes from the city center via public transit, which comes in handy if you want to check out different areas and blend in with the locals.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels! 

You should expect food and portion size to be different than what you're accustomed to at home. Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. Two dinners will be included, too. We work with local restaurants to provide a pre-set menu that includes 2-3 course plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes. Other dinners and lunches are your opportunity to explore the cuisine as you see fit.

In Amsterdam, you will find cuisines from all over the world as well as Dutch classics like pastries and local cheese. French cuisine is known for being rich and decadent – chefs around the world strive to replicate it.

  • Amsterdam is famous for sweets like Pannenkoeken (thin pancakes), stroopwafel, and licorice. The Dutch consume more licorice than anyone in the world!

  • In Paris, try duck dishes like foie gras and duck confit, freshly baked French baguettes with local cheese, and crepes—eaten with both sweet and savory fillings.

  • In Paris, dinners are typically eaten later in the day, often between 8 and 10pm. Keep this in mind when planning where to eat for dinners on your own!

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Overnight to Amsterdam and home from Paris

  • Public transportation: In Amsterdam, public transportation passes are included for exploration time. In Paris, public transportation passes are included and will be the main mode of transportation for included activities and exploration time.

  • Bus: Main mode of transportation on the ground in Amsterdam.

  • High-speed train: From Amsterdam to Paris.

  • Walking: Hands down the best way to explore a new city. Be ready to walk a ton (we're talking 5-7 miles per day) to see as much as possible.

Did you know? Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. When walking in the city, stay on pedestrian sidewalks and watch out for cyclists. 

You will explore two cities in eight days, so this program will feel fast! To maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening (or later if you’re feeling adventurous). Most days will be a combination of planned activities and exploration time with some days being busier than others. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, walking, on local transportation and train to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll be spending 3 nights in each city before moving on to the next. Take advantage of the time you have and familiarize yourself with the city, the neighborhoods and local spots.

Traveler tip: Arrival day will feel like the longest day on your program, we recommend sleeping on the plane as much as possible to be ready to hit the ground running.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors: the number of planned activities, whether or not your group has decided to add any optional excursions, and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you. You could sit in a café and people-watch, grab a few friends and discover a new part of the city, or do some souvenir shopping. On busier days, you might just have enough exploration time for a quick lunch.

Here is a rough breakdown of exploration time on your itinerary:

  • Amsterdam: Half day, half day

  • Paris: Full day

There is so much to see and do in these cities, so do some research and plan ahead. If you need inspiration, here are our exploration time suggestions:

  • Browse the artist stalls along the Seine River in Paris.

  • Climb the stairs at the Croatian Embassy for a less crowded view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

  • Take a bike tour of Amsterdam.

Traveler tip: The “Nine Streets” district in Amsterdam is a great area to visit for food and local shops.

The Dutch are patriotic and proud of their country. Many Dutch are taught to practice verdraagzaamheid, or tolerance. This means respecting people’s freedom of choice and beliefs. This attitude is visible in Amsterdam, which is generally progressive on social stances, such as LGBTQIA+ rights, euthanasia, cannabis laws, and freedom of speech.  

Many residents ride bicycles for transportation, particularly in the major cities. In fact, there are 3x as many bicycles as there are cars in the country.

Dutch cuisine is straightforward, consisting of lots of vegetables and a little meat. Include some foods to try: Rookworst (smoked sausage), Hollandse Nieuwe (raw herring), and Pannenkoeken (pancakes). Yum! 

It’s one of the most secularized countries in Western Europe—under 40% of the population claim to be religious. Of that 40%, only 6% attend church regularly.

Do learn common words and phrases: 

  • Bonjour = Hello, Good morning

  • Bonne nuit = Goodnight

  • Merci beaucoup = Thank you very much

French people, particularly Parisians, may have a different communication style than Americans. They communicate clearly and directly, without much cushioning or sugar-coating, which can be shocking to some students.

Don’t dawdle or walk slowly. If you’re lost, pop into a shop or a nearby café and reorient yourself. In Europe, try to always walk with a purpose to avoid unwanted attention or pickpockets.

When entering a shop or browsing at an outdoor market, it is customary to greet the shopkeeper or business owner; A simple “Bonjour/Hello” during the day or “Bonsoir/Good evening” at night will go a long way!

French people love to observe. Don’t be surprised if you catch people lounging at cafés (or in other locations) staring at you every now and then; this is common and isn’t considered to be rude in French culture. 

Anticipate less emphasis on personal space. French people often greet one another with a kiss on the cheek and a hug (even strangers!). Similarly, they have a much smaller expectation of (or regard for) personal space. 

Anti-immigrant and anti-Black racism in France is unfortunately not uncommon. Students of color, particularly Black students, may encounter verbal harassment or more attention from police.   

Please note that this guide is for the eight-day version of this program. Ask your Group Leader for details regarding the two-day extension to London.

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.