I'm an American exchange student going to school for a year at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.
It's a very quaint little city just 30 mins south of Amsterdam. Amsterdam itself is overrated and overrun with scary people, so I'm glad to be in Leiden, a student town without big city problems. But there is more to Amsterdam than the infamous places and the Anne Frank House, so when you go, get outside the city center or you'll miss out entirely on what the Dutch are really like. The Hague and the International Peace Palace are 15 mins south of Leiden, and I'm about 20 mins from the North Sea by bus, 45 mins by bike. The picture to the left is about a block from my student house.
The University was founded in 1575. Descartes studied here, Einstein taught here, Hugo de Groot (better known to you Law types as Grotius) wrote treatises here, and the American Pilgrims first fled here from England before they decided (in their infinite wisdom) that even sober Holland was too worldly for them and they needed to flee to the New World to really be themselves.