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Postcard from Netherlands: Exploring gender, sexuality and race in Amsterdam

Postcard from Aminah Crawford ’21, studying abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Name: Aminah Crawford ’21
  • Hometown: Beloit, WI
  • Major: Media Studies, CRIS, Minor: Spanish
  • Study Abroad Location: International perspectives on gender and sexuality program at SIT, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Q. How were you engaging with people and place when you’re not in the classroom?

A. When I am not studying for our program in my classes or for learning Dutch SIT has offered a plethora of activities that we complete as a group that have to deal with gender and sexuality and sometimes race. Sometimes the excursions are in Amsterdam and sometimes they are not. For example, we go to places like PIC (Prostitution Information Center) which is in the heart of Amsterdam in the Red Light District that serves as an educational center and resource for providing all of Amsterdam’s visitors with information and advice on prostitution, or places like to the city of Rotterdam and spoke with gender clowns who held a workshop on Gender, Identity, and Safe Spaces or going to original sex shops run by women for women pleasure and having a workshop on pleasure and different pleasure tools.

Q. What is your favorite place in your host city/country?

A. My favorite place in the Netherlands is Amsterdam just because there is much to see and you can walk around for awhile and just laugh and enjoy the scenery.

Zwarte Piet and Blackface-Decolonizing the Museum

Zwarte Piet and Blackface-Decolonizing the Museum

Q. What was the most unexpected thing you encountered during your off-campus study experience?

A. The most unexpected thing I have encountered during my experience abroad has to be with the food. For example, I didn’t know that about 80% (I’m not sure just guessing) of the snacks I eat at home in the US are solely in the US. There is not much variety with the food or snacks unless you cook….and I am not doing that. I did find some ramen and an expat store that ships English food so that’s a positive. But they have a lot of different cookies with interesting flavors like mango chili and honey (Honey is amazing).

Strawberry and Nutella Poffertjes at the Pannenkoeken

Strawberry and Nutella Poffertjes at the Pannenkoeken

Q. Describe some daily rituals/routines that you’ve observed while abroad.

A. For me a daily ritual involves getting up and getting ready and going to school by the metro then when I’m at school I have to drink a cup of coffee or tea. Whichever one is made for that day. Like if i honestly cannot remember a day I didn’t have that routine. Even at my homestay I have coffee or tea in the morning.

Q. What is a common food there? What is the best meal you’ve had abroad?

A. The most common food here is fries with mayo. That is like a staple everywhere in a lot of shops but I’m not sure if its because tourists like it more or the Dutch. Nonetheless, they ask you if you want mayo on everything! The best meal I’ve had so far in Amsterdam is the salmon. My house-mom and my favorite Italian restaurant has really made me fall in love in with salmon and the many ways you can eat it.

A feast for a King

A feast for a King

December 04, 2019

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