Meet the Leideners

Aakanksha(Aku)

IMG_7209 Age: 20
Course: International Studies
Hometown: Bangalore, India
In The Hague: Since August 2012

Namaste! I’m Aakanksha or Aku as they call me around here. I’m studying International Studies at Leiden University in The Hague. I’m specializing in South and South East Asia and learning Urdu. I took a gap year where I did an internship for six months at Habitat for Humanity and travelled around Europe and North America. I was originally supposed to study in Canada but Holland just happened and I can say I’m not disappointed! I love naps, food, traveling, and watching movies. OH AND DOGS! Aren’t they the cutest?
I’m on the board for my student organization (B.A.S.I.S) for my study. I also am part of a dinner club, where we meet once a week, take turns cooking and try all kinds of cuisine. I can safely say my friends here are my international family, who have taught me so much.

Andrew

Londres plageAge: 24

Course: MA International Relations (International Studies)

Hometown: Bradford, United Kingdom

In Leiden: since September 2013

Previous studies: UCL, London (2007-2011), Université Paris Sorbonne – Paris IV (2009-2011)

Originally reading French at University College London, I spent two happy years teaching in the English department at the Sorbonne University in Paris after graduation. I then, however, decided that I wanted to go back to being on the other side of the dais and broaden my horizons, having spent the past few years coupling my days job with various language-learning endeavours and extensive travel. One of said language-learning projects was teaching myself Dutch and my love of the Low Countries and all things Netherlandish led me to Leiden, where I found my perfect masters programme. The International Relations course at Leiden was one of the few I could find (anywhere) that encouraged people from non-IR backgrounds to apply and being now in classes with people from a multitude of previous disciplines, I’m really enjoying the course and the different insights people have on the issues we examine. I’m also loving my new life in Leiden on which I’ll try to keep you up to speed!

Anna

Age 24

Hometown: Bath, UK

Course: MA Ancient History

A Leidener: September 2011-May 2013

Previous Universities: University of Southampton 2007-2008, Cardiff University 2008-2011

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Since my somewhat unfulfilled gap year in 2006 I have desperately wanted to escape from Britain and live a Continental life. I loved my course in ancient history at Cardiff and couldn’t bear the idea of finishing my studies so off I went to study a masters degree at Leiden University. People warned me not to expect too much of Leiden, for fear that I would be disappointed, but how wrong they were. Obviously there have been a few shaky moments, such as my first few days here before my accommodation was ready and I was staying in a hostel in Amsterdam with some very rude Australians. On arrival I joined the LEF theatre society and now have a lovely group of theatrical friends, both Dutch and international. I am most often to be spotted at my local watering hole, Twee Spieghels, sipping Baileys and looking pretentious, scribbling in my notepad at the bar.

Anna Frederike

anna frederikeAge: 27

Course: ResMA Literary Studies

Hometown: Hamburg, Germany

In Leiden: since August 2012

Previous Studies: University Hamburg (2007-2012), Leiden University (Erasmus 2010)

The first time I came to Leiden as an Erasmus exchange student in 2010. Until the day I applied I had no idea of the existence of this little dreamlike city. I fell in love right away, and after I finished my Bachelor in Hamburg, applying for the Masters here was the only way to go! And the right one – I enjoy my studies a lot (sometimes even though and sometimes because I hardly ever get my nose out of books anymore), I met so many interesting new people again, and I still love crossing the bridges of the canals at night in the magic light of the orange street lamps…

Now I’m already in my second year and have the urge to capture more of my Leiden life again, in words and images, because time slips away way too fast! Even though I know the city quite well by now, it doesn’t stop surprising me. There is always something new to discover, and I am excited to share my experiences and love for Leiden in a blog!

 Anna River

annamia  Age: 26

Course: BA International Studies

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  - Sylvia Plath

I was born and raised in East Germany. After finishing high school I moved to Berlin and decided to simply get by as a full time singer/songwriter, traveled, shared my songs with other people, and tried to figure out what else I could do with my life. I knew I wanted to write and that I wanted to see the world, so I eventually moved to New York to study Journalism. That turned out to be quite a ride — it helped me a lot to find out who I am and what I was able to accomplish, if I just pushed myself enough to achieve my goals. The course helped me explore new sides of myself and fostered my affinity for international policy making and foreign relations — and I realized that I wanted to actively change the world. While living in Amsterdam for a few months last winter, I found out about the new BA International Studies program at Leiden University – and here I am. So far, this move has been a promising one  – after all, I’m not much of a big city girl, and The Hague has that small town feel I’ve been longing for. But it also has quite some great cultural things to offer, which I hope to be writing about in the near future.
I am a writer, singer, musician, photographer and maker of things. I am currently working on my first novel, enjoy yoga, crocheting, cooking, baking and gezellige evenings with new friends in cozy places. I also own a rocket cat and am very fond of purple things. I maintain a personal blog on which I reflect on my travels, thoughts and the continuous search for home. Say hi sometime!

Beatriz (Bia)

materdeiAge: 24

Course: MSc. International Relations and Diplomacy

Hometown: São José dos Campos/ SP- Brazil

In Leiden: Since August 2012

Previous studies: Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado- São Paulo, Brazil

After finishing my undergraduate studies in Brazil and working in the private insurances world for a year I decided it was time to leave my confort zone and come to the Netherlands for my Masters. I must confess that life in Leiden is much easier than my old one in a 18 million inhabitants city and that allows me to appreciate the small pleasures that Leiden offers. I am now in the hunt for the best warme chocolademelk met slagroom (hot chocolate with whipped cream) in town and I invite you to join me in this search in small cafés or big restaurants. When I am not ‘hot chocolat hunting’ you can probably find me in the library catching up with my readings, grabbing some bitterballen or kaasouflé, jogging along witte single, getting fresh veggies, fish and flowers on the Saturday Market (one of my biggest loves here) or working for ISN- International Students Network- in the Breimer Common Room by Plexus. Despite its size Leiden has a lot to offer to everyone and I am excited about finding more about the city´s hidden secrets!

Ecesu

profile

Age: 18

Course: BA International Studies

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Hoi!

I’m Ecesu and I’m a coffee addict (although I prefer to be called a coffee-lover). I smile often, write a lot, draw a bit (usually just sketch instead), love walking/dancing under the rain. I have a love for Italy and –almost- everything Italian. I also have an unexplainable interest in dream-catchers.

I’m from a magical city called Istanbul; a melting pot of cultures and ideas. Now? I’ve found myself a new home! A relatively smaller and different one but that’s what makes the journey interesting!

I’ve always enjoyed writing but preferred to keep it mostly to myself (and maybe a few friends). Time for university meant time for change. So I decided to open up a little and let my words be read. This is my first time writing for somewhere/someone/something which makes it really exciting for me. I will be writing stories of the past, experiences of the present and hopes and dreams of the future. Hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!

Cheers!

Ela

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 Age : 23

Course: MSc Political Science

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

In Leiden: since August 2009

Previous Universities: Webster University, Leiden

I’m Ela, half-English, half-Turkish, born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. I moved to Holland four years ago to study International Relations. When I graduated I knew that I was in no way ready to leave this incredible, tiny little country. So I started my masters degree in Political Science at Leiden University, which seemed like a natural transition for me. I have met some incredible people along the way, and have slowly but surely assimilated into the Dutch culture (although my Dutch language skills are poor and I still find so many things to be absolutely bizarre – I mean how is peanut sauce on french fries a real thing?).

Through this blog I will attempt to share little snippets of my Dutch journey with you and hope that I can do justice to this incredibly open-minded, tolerant, vibrant and fun place I call my home away from home.

Emily

EmilyAge: 26

Hometown: Hexham, UK

Course: ResMA Area Studies

In Leiden: August 2009 – 2013

Previous Universities: School of Oriental and African Studies (2005-2009 London, UK), Kyushu University (2007-2008 Fukuoka, Japan)

After graduating in 2009, I moved to Leiden and spent 2 years teaching English and wondering what to do next. In 2011 I finally took the plunge and enrolled on a 2 year Research Master’s course at Leiden uni. My area of specialisation is Japan, so Leiden, with its excellent Japanese department, was a natural choice. I’ve loved living in Leiden so far. It’s so different to London, but walking through its cobbled streets or drinking beer on a terrace in the sun, I always feel very happy to be studying here. With one more year to go, I want to do and see as many things in Leiden and the Netherlands as I can. I love food, and I’m really into cooking, baking and trying out restaurants (on a student budget, of course!) so send any foodie recommendations this way. Oh, and see our Tumblr for more photos.

Emma

Age: 20 Hometown: Sandbach, Cheshire, United Kingdom.

Course: BA (hons) English Language and Linguistics.

When I blogged: September 2011 – June 2012

Home University: University of Edinburgh

As my final honours years approached, I decided to delay the imminent influx of study stress and up sticks from the wintry wiles of Bonnie Scotland to the windy plains of the Netherlands. In Edinburgh, I devoted my time to writing for the student newspapers, hosting a cheesy radio show for Fresh Air Radio, working for a modelling agency, running, studying and, of course, socialising. An Erasmus year abroad, however, in a city of quaint cobbled streets and a labyrinth of canals appeared to be too great an offer to overlook. Driven by the prospect of travel, meeting new people and a bounty of new experiences, I resolved to say ‘yes’ to almost every opportunity that presented itself here in the Netherlands. So if you’d like to read more about the advice, adventures and inevitable accidents, then The Leidener is your number one resource.

Franziska

Age: 20

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

Course: BA English Language and Culture, Minor in Psychology

In Leiden: August 2009 – at least Summer 2013

While born in Berlin, most of my life and thus education took place in The Netherlands. I have long since stopped wondering about curious customs and crazy culture and embraced it. When I moved to Leiden in 2009, I signed up for one of the bigger student associations, figuring that studying German with about ten others might not result in that big of a social life. I’ve spent most of my time in Leiden so far being a part of different committees, and after switching to English, even the board of my study association. Most days I’m either studying, meeting with some committee, hanging out with my housemates or having dance practice. I’m hoping I’ll finish my BA this year, and I might just stick around for my MA.

Frederike

IMAG0204 - Arbeitskopie 2

Age: 18

Course: BA International Studies

Hometown: Bremen, Germany

In Leiden/The Hague: since September 2013

Hoi, hoi!

I am Frederike and I was born in the beautiful hansa town Bremen, in North Germany (Just in case you were wondering… yes, that is the city of Grimm´s fairytale of the “Town Musicians of Bremen”).

Superficially seen, Bremen and The Hague are very similar, both are located in the North, close to the sea, Herring is a specialty in Bremen, as well as in The Hague … the cities resemble each other at first glance. However, life shows the small but mighty differences and that is what I want to blog about! What is new, exciting, confusing for me … ?

In September 2013 my new life as a student in The Hague – the city of peace and justice – began … Reading “BA International Studies” in such a multicultural and international city is a great opportunity, and gradually I get to know the city, with all its curiosities and facets.This will be my first time, sharing my experiences with a wider audience than just my family and friends. I am very excited about the coming time as a Leidener Blogger! I will take you with me through the city, to the university and to the exciting events offered by this vivacious city. Hopefully you will enjoy! Tot Ziens!

Gemma Huett

2012-08-20 22.56.06Age: 21

Hometown: London, The United Kingdom
Study Programme: Philosophy
Living in Leiden since September 2013

Getting close to graduating in my Batchelor’s degree made me realise that I was not quite ready to settle into a fixed career; there was so much more I wanted to do first; travel, learn and philosophise! Leiden seemed to just ‘happen’ to me, I’m not sure how I decided on Leiden or The Netherlands but living in this beautiful little city has made me realise just how lucky I am to have ended up here! I worked in The Netherlands during the summer as a tour guide so my skills of navigating canal-side streets have been developed, although that’s not to say I’m not constantly lost and confused when every corner I turn I end up by a café near a canal! Since being here, when I’m not reading, I seem to spend most of my time cycling in the rain, drinking at the many cute pubs or trying to be involved in way too many of the ISN clubs! I’m so excited to learn more about The Netherlands and Dutch culture and be able to share my experiences of living abroad with you all!

Grace

GraceAge: 24

Hometown: Xi’an, China

Study Program: MSc Media Technology

In Leiden: since August 2011

Previous University: Beijing Language and Culture University (2007-2011 Beijing,China)

I spent the past 22 years in a huge country with a huge population before coming to this quite town in this small country. It’s big contrast I have to say, but I like it. I always like noting down thoughts and things that happen in my life which I find interesting, impressive, or memorable. However, I don’t consider myself a very good writer who can use beautiful languages and compose fascinating chapters (maybe because ever since my bachelor the most things I learned to write is computer languages like ‘println( “Hello World!” );’ -_- ). What I usually do is just using simple language to write down what I see and how I feel. Anyway, I always enjoy reading the things I wrote — it’s like browsing through the memory of funny moments and thoughts. And I hope you’ll enjoy as well. ^ ^

James Gudgeon

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 01.06.04Age: 22 and ¾

Course: MSc Consumer Psychology and Business, Bangor University

Hometown: Chelmsford, United Kingdom

In Leiden: Since August 2013

Previous Studies: BSc Psychology, Bangor University (2009-20012); PCEP, Pukyong National University (2011)

What’s up, Buttercups?! Or ought I say, Hoi! I’m James and I’m a 22-year-old Welsh-wannabe here in the fair old city of Leiden for two semesters of Erasmus exchange. Coming from my university hometown of Bangor, located in one of the furthest extremities of mainland Wales conceivable to man, the Leiden’s hubbub is quite the welcome contrast! At least, however, the weather doesn’t appear to be any better!

I’m a soul of simple pleasures, like taking brief strolls up a mountain or two; pulling on my wetsuit and trying to surf the ‘wave’ that visits Wales once a year; eating hearty breakfast foods; reading books, pamphlets, the back of shampoo bottles, etc.; twiddling my thumbs; enjoying a natural affinity for two-wheeled contraptions that expedite bipedal locomotion… The list goes on.

I’m looking forward to exploring Leiden, Nederland, Nederlands and the Dutch people in general over the coming year, and by the time we’re done with this here blog-based investigation, avid reader, perhaps we’ll both be just a smidge more qualified to call ourselves true Leideners…

Joe

blog

Age: 18

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges

Hometown: Hebden Bridge, England

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Previous Studies: Greenhead College (September 2011 -June 2013)

Favourite (Dutch) food: Stroopwaffels, or pannenkoeken, or drop

I’ve not really got much of a life story to tell, as before moving to the Hague I lived in the same little countryside town in the north of England all my life. It’s a very beautiful town; in fact it was voted the ‘grooviest town in England’ in the Observer, but a little less goes on there than in The Hague! I found out about Leiden University College online, and after reading about the academic programme there I almost instantly knew it was where I wanted to be. So I left England and came to the Netherlands, which has definitely been the most exciting thing to happen to me so far. Having just finished my first term (at the time of writing) I’m really enjoying university life and being a part of an international scene. Now I can share my experiences through The Leidener, and  perhaps persuade other internationals from small home towns to dream big (it’s totally worth it)!

Katharina

Blogpicture  Age: 25

Hometown: Mainz, Germany

Course: MA Comparative Literature and Literary Theory

Previous University:  University of Mainz, Germany (2009-2012), University of Leiden  (Erasmus)

My Erasmus Exchange Program with the department of Book and Digital Media in 2011 brought me to Leiden. After having enjoyed the 8 month in Leiden thoroughly, I realized Leiden has a lot to offer, not only academically but also regarding the student life, so I decided to come back for my Masters. After having graduated in summer 2012 in Book Studies in Mainz I moved back to Leiden to study Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. Though I loved living in Leiden, I have to admit that I had concerns about getting bored in this small city after a while. But now, after having spent almost 2 years here, I still can’t get enough; it still surprises me sometimes how beautiful this city is. My study program is completely different from what I have done before and Leiden offers plenty of activities for students in Leiden, so I do not even have the time to get bored.  Due to the high amount of international students, the city is in a constant change, which gives you the chance to meet new people from all over the world every day. I highly doubt that I will ever get bored here.

Laurence

Laurence

Age: 24

Hometown: Hereford, United Kingdom

Course: LL.M. in Public International Law

In Leiden: August 2011 – August 2012

Previous Universities: Oxford University (Oxford, UK), Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)

Having finished my undergrad in PPE at Oxford I stayed on for a year to mess about on the river (organising rowing competitions), before taking a bit of a leap into the unknown and jetting off to Budapest to study for an MA in International Relations. I had a great time there, and thanks to the close academic links between Central European University and Leiden, I found myself with an offer to study international law in the country where much of it is made (the Hague being just 10 miles down the road). So, not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I hopped on a ferry with my backpack and bike, and made my way Leiden-ward. Most days you’ll find me in the law faculty or down at the Peace Palace in the Hague, diligently working on papers, editing articles and writing my thesis on refugee law and security. [Edit, February: Scratch 'diligently' from the above.]

Lianru Zhang

QQ图片20131020203532Age: 28

Hometown: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Course:  MSc Media Technology

In Leiden: July –September 2012, February 2013 – now

I am Lianru, I come from Panda’s hometown. I am so happy that I can come to Leiden. For me, being in the Netherlands likes dream coming true. A lot of people asked me why I chose to study in the Netherlands. The reason actually is very uncommon. After the graduation of my former university, there was a voice appearing in my mind and told me should further my education in the Netherlands. Following my magic sixth sense, here I am. When I have been here, I have experienced a lot. Those nice and unlucky things made me becoming more mature and appreciating my wonderful life.

I am glad I have this chance to share my special story of my life in Leiden with you. I hope you will like it and be enjoyable.

Pelin

Age: 25

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

Course: Res. MSc. Social and Organizational Psychology

In Leiden: September 2012-?

Previous Universities: York University, Toronto, 2005-2012, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Summer 2007

After being raised up in Istanbul, Turkey and then spending a large portion of my life in Canada,  I consider myself more of a bicultural being. I was an international student in Toronto and ended up working there for  a while until I came close to figuring out what I wanted to do in life. Now, here I am in a European city closer to my home country, continueing to be an international student! But, this is my first time living in a non-metropolitan city, and I am loving everything about it so far – no traffic, no crowds, no rush, no pollution,  no noise, no crime, lots of bikes, peace, canals, and cheese. Oh and I am studying in Leiden to learn more about social and cultural psychology. In my free times(what is that?), you can find me chatting with friends outside of the library, mumbling in Dutch for practice reasons, jumping, smiling, singing and biking around.

Robyn

Age: 22

Hometown: Guisborough, UK

Course: MSc Public Administration

In Leiden: since August 2012

Previous Universities: University of Edinburgh, UK (2008 – 2012); Universidad de Valladolid, Spain (2010 – 2011) (Erasmus)

I graduated in June 2012 with an MA in Spanish and European Union Studies. Feeling too young and under qualified to take the plunge and try joining the real world with its terrifying phenomena of tax and 9 – 5 hours, I decided that further study was a sensible course of action. Leiden University, with its excellent reputation and considerably more reasonable tuition fees, seemed to be a good choice. And now, here I am, studying for an MSc in Public Administration. I’ve travelled around Europe quite a bit but I had actually never visited the Netherlands before applying to study here, so this is a big step into the unknown for me. I’ll be using this blog to share with you all the mishaps, adventures and experiences that I’m sure the next year has in store for me; I hope you enjoy reading as much as I’ll enjoy writing. And of course, if you have any comments or things you’d like to know, please drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer!

Saarthak Singh

IMG_7613Age: 20

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Studying: History

In Leiden: since August 2013

I am in Leiden on an Erasmus exchange programme from the University of St Andrews, UK. Having spent two years at the small university town by the Scottish coast, I felt the urge to burst the bubble and broaden my horizons. Leiden provided just the opportunity I was looking for. Travelling around in the continent was restrained while I was in the UK, but being here I have had more of a chance to see and explore various things for myself. Needless to say, Leiden is a great place to study and beautiful town to live in. I look forward to telling about my time in Leiden, for even though small, the city doesn’t stop surprising you. I hope you all enjoy my blogs.

Saleem

Saleem

Age: 24 Hometown: London, United Kingdom

Course: M.Sci in Chemistry (final year Erasmus Exchange student)

Leiden Life: Autumn 2011 – Summer 2012

Home university: Imperial College London, UK

Born and raised in London, by age 22 I had spent all my life in England, so in the summer of 2010 I decided to pack my bags and head off on my own worldly adventure. I spent the next 3 months working at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, followed by an 11 month internship for BASF in Singapore. In July 2011 I returned to Europe, but traded London for the hippy dutch capital of Amsterdam from where I did a language course to help smooth my induction into Dutch culture. From September onwards I have been plying my trade at Leiden University in the Gorlaeus Laboratorum, working on treatments for Gauchers and Diabetes.

Shiva Prasad

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Age : 24

Hails from : Hyderabad, India

Study in Leiden : Masters in Vitality and Ageing (Sept 2011 to Aug 2012)

Earlier study : Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery, Hyderabad, India

After 6 years of medical school, I needed a break, I wanted to travel. I could backpack maximum for a couple of months may be, but I wanted to stay outside and travel for longer. Combining studies and travel was the solution I thought. I developed an interest in geriatrics and gerontology during my med school. I googled for related courses and learnt that Leiden university is one of the few research oriented universities offering such a course. Leiden happens to be in Holland and I even got a scholarship! So without a second thought I landed in this place. I come from a typical Indian city of 10 million people full of colors, sounds, smells, hustle, bustle and chaos every where. For a person like me with such cultural conditioning, staying in this little, calm and quaint city ( a village by Indian standards) of Leiden was heaven. It has indeed been a great year. So, here I am to share my funny experiences and little stories about Leiden! Hope you enjoy it……

Shourya Khanna

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Age: 23

Hometown: Delhi, India

Course:  MSc. Astronomy

In Leiden: August 2013-

Previous Universities: University of Surrey, 2008-2012

I think I am a nomad. My childhood was spent moving  countries and North America and Antarctica are the only continents I haven’t touched yet but hope do it someday although travelling to the latter might require great fitness and a good fat pocket, neither of which I possess currently.  And now I am in windy Netherlands.

I am studying Astronomy and given the history and collaboration Leiden observatory has this is perhaps one of the best places for the subject.

In my spare time I like watching films and with each post will be sharing one off my must-watch list. Since I am sure I haven’t watched all the great films yet I hope you will be leaving suggestions for me :).

Theresa

Age: 21

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences- Global Challenges

Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany

In Leiden: since August 2012

Previous Universities: Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich

After graduating from High School and spending my gap year doing a civil service (Weltwärts for the Germans) in Ecuador, I started to study law in Munich. I really loved the city and the people, but law was just a too narrow subject for me, as I wanted to understand  the current happenings in our very complex world. So after talking to some friends who study in the Netherlands as well and who were always really positive about their programs I decided to apply to the Honors College of Leiden University (LUC). Here I can choose from a great offer of courses and can decide myself, how my curriculum looks like, what I want to learn and what I don´t need to know. LUC is located in The Hague what I am quite happy about as the city is a bit bigger and more multicultural than Leiden- and of course, we have a beach! So I´ll try my best to give you a broad view of how studying in The Hague is and how much you can enjoy yourself in the city of peace and justice.

Thomas

59691_10200972068410352_1715571602_nAge: 19

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges

Hometown: Pleinfeld, Germany

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

 Goedemorgen, Ik ben Thomas uit Duitsland!
… ok, I come from a small town in Bayern, Germany and just started with my Bachelor at Leiden University College in The Hague!

I would consider myself an “all-rounder”, because you can find me involved nearly everywhere: music, sports, scouts, volunteering, organizing, travelling, chilling out, socializing, checking out new things… are only some examples of my every-day hobbies… Leiden, The Hague, Holland, beach, cheese, dutch, my dream study program… it’s just amazing to be here. Therefore, I would like to share some of my experiences of the exciting student life here in The Netherlands with you.

I hope you enjoy our stories!  Tot Ziens

cheers and beers,

Thomas ;)

 Xiaowei

IMG_20131021_234715_2Age: 20

Course: MA Comparative Literature and Literary Theory

Hometown: Hefei, China

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Previous University: Shanghai Maritime University (2009-2013)

Hey since I’m a list person, here are the top 5 things you need to know about me:

1. I wasn’t born a smiler. Smiling is lousy. So next time you see me talk to you with a poker face, don’t worry. I don’t hate you. (I just don’t like you that much.)

2. I love comedy shows or just anything that makes me laugh (no, laughing is different from smiling).

3. I’m a full-time fangirl over indie bands. Okay I won’t bore you with another list of my 5 favorite bands.

4. I like Leiden more than the Hague. (Sorry, den Haag, although you have a Chinatown which I adore so much!)

5. I will try to write as much as I can about my life in Europe. It will be a wonderful year. I know it.

Xueyan

1500961_253074664842586_129757522_o_meitu_2_meitu_2

Age: 19

Hometown: Huainan, China

Programme: Liberal Arts & Sciences: LUC The Hague

In the Netherlands: Since August 2012

Hi! I am Xueyan Xing, a second-year student at Leiden University College The Hague.  I’m from a teeny tiny small industrial town in China (with 2-million urban population). I have been studying here for almost 2 years; directly flying from my hometown to here with no experience overseas before, I experienced an impressive amount of culture shock, yet attained loads of knowledge, fun, happiness and friendship that I will surely not be able to get back home. Currently, I am doing a major in World Politics (probably a BA) and a minor in International Development. Learning German and Japanese takes up most of my extracurricular time; I also joined the LUC Choir, which has an absolutely awesome group of people in it. Life is really amazing here. To cut the long story short, I love being a Leidener, and I hope I can share my love with you, my dear readers.

Yuri

Age :25

Course : MSc in Public Administration

Hometown : São Paulo, Brazil

In Leiden: Since August 2012

Previous Universities : USP – University of São Paulo, Brazil (2006-2010), BBI – Balassi Balint Institute, Hungary (2004-2005)

Half hungarian, half japanese, born and raised in Brazil ( Can’t play football or dance samba, but can make a killer caipirinha though). I have repeated this line over and over, but I guess it does a good job in describing myself. :) After finishing by BA in International Relations and working for a while, I decided it was time to come back to Europe. I lived in Hungary some years ago and felt the old continent calling back, so the opportunity to study in different country, with a VERY different language, simply felt like the right thing to do. So here I am now, in the oldest university of the Netherlands and eager to explore all it has to offer. This is indeed quite a change from São Paulo, with its 12 million inhabitants, but I can’t help discovering new things every day.

So, see you around town! Tot later!

24 thoughts on “Meet the Leideners

  1. Pingback: The Bicycle Bible | theleidener

  2. Awesome! I’m so delighted that more people are discovering the wonder of Leiden. My friend and I were both on exchange there for this semester last term, originally from St Andrews. Check out our blog at http://www.netherlash.com – I think it remains live

    Best
    Freddie

  3. Ah, except it isn’t live anymore. I’m trying to track down the original, which I think should be somewhere still on the web…

    • Hi Freddie! We actually came across Netherlash when looking for ideas for this blog. Looked like great fun. But then we went back to find it to show someone else, and it was gone! Feel free to let us know when or if you find it. Laurence

  4. It’s great to read some opinions and other people’s experience here in Leiden. I’m Dutch, but I grew up in Italy and lived there until..a week ago. Now I want to explore “my” country. I will totally continue reading your blog!
    Juliette

  5. ¡¡¡¡¡Hallo mensen!!!!!
    I’m a spanish student who is going to study this year in Leiden university. I’d like to know if I could rent a bike in order to go to my faculty of Humanities in Leiden. Do you know if there is a website where I could watch or compare rental prices of bikes? Here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canarische Eilanden, Spanje) there are bikes for rent given freely by the townhall but I don’t really know if I could the same in Leiden. I need to validate subjects of English Philology with those ones of the field of Humanities in Holland but I’m in the process right now. Ik weet niet wat ik moet doen maar ik probeer het …. hahahaha I’ve learnt a little bit of dutch on my own because I’m in love with the dutch language / Ik hou van de nederlandse taal!!!!! Could you help me? I have some doubts to solve related to the stay and the distance from the school.

    ¡¡¡¡¡Thanks for all!!!!!!

    • Dear Spanish student,

      Don’t rent a bike in Holland; just buy one (second hand). It’s really not worth your money to rent a bike if you will stay here for more than a week or so. There are plenty of bike-shops where they sell second hand bikes (ask Dutch students, search with Google etc.) – I reckon you can buy a decent second hand bike for around 70 euros minimum. It’s really worth your money! And remember: you will most surely also need a decent lock on your bike, or it will be gone in days.

      Btw, the faculty of Humanities is right in the centre of the City. Depending on your housing location, you might not even need a bike to get there. But then again, having a bike in the Netherlands is more or less indispensable – if only just to experience one of the essentials of Dutch culture!!

  6. Hi Anne !!!

    Hartelijk bedankt hehe en Angenaam kennis met u te maken; The truth is that I’d like to rent a room in Rijnfront but I do not exactly know if this one is located so much farther to the Faculty of Humanities right in the centre of the city, as you’ve said before. So, it’s better for me to buy a second hand bike then even if I prefer walking to see the place with more detail. It’s the first time I’m going to travel abroad so this is a great chance of taking photos of all corners of the city. Go to Holland is the biggest dream that I intend to achieve because I love it and also the dutch language that sounds very beautiful. Please, just answer my question whenever you can.

    Regards!!!!

    • Hi there again!

      Rijnfront is quite a bit out of the centre of Leiden. It actually officially belongs to another village called Oegstgeest (in which Laurence writes he also lives), so you will be needing that bike!!

      Good luck with everything!

  7. Can I just compliment your stories on your interesting and funny blog!! I am really impressed with the accuracy and detail in which your blogs describe the Leiden student life, and life in The Netherlands in general. For a native Dutch person as myself, it is also an eye-opener to read how foreign students experience life over here. I think you three might well have experienced more of the real Leiden student life than a lot of native Dutch students (of which many still live with their parents somewhere outside of Leiden…) have! Congratulations. Keep up the good work!

  8. Hallo !!!

    Thanks for your cooperation but I’d like to know if there’s a better place to stay so much nearer to the Faculty of Humanities in which prices by room were not higher than 500€, I mean, a place to where I could easily go by walking for low cost and including all what is necessary to live. A place in good conditions, alsjeblieft, if you don’t mind. What would you recommend me?

    Thanks!!!!

    • It sounds like you’re looking for the impossible – the room everybody wants: close to the centre, good conditions, low rent. If I knew one, I would probably live there…. No, for real, I would recommend you to read Laurences blog ‘Te huur or not te huur? The housing problem.’ He basically coveres the whole subject and gives a few good tips. I really can’t help you any further.

      • I think Anne is 100% right here – it can be pretty tough finding a place that meets all of the conditions you want. I definitely had to compromise on location to get somewhere that was suitable for me. You can search for ‘Housing in Leiden’ and ‘Leiden Housing’ on facebook, and also look for ‘ISN Leiden’. All three pages may help you. You can also look for shared rooms or advertise for people to share with. More details are on Te Huur, as Anne says. Finally, you might be able to have some luck with the Uni housing agency with 500EUR/month, so google them. I hope this helps.

        Thanks for the compliments Anne – it’s great to know that people enjoy reading the blog, and especially that Dutch people appreciate the view we’re providing ‘from the outside looking in’. We’re certainly enjoying writing, exploring, taking photos and the like.

        Laurence

  9. Dankuwel Laurence!!!! en Angenaam kennis met u te maken vandaag!!!!!! I’ve read your last message and I agree with you both but I just want to know if there’s a place to stay not too far from the Faculty of Humanities. I hoop you could help me in that sense and I prefer to establish a friendship (vriendschaap) from now on if you don’t mind, just for getting information in what it is concerned to live in Leiden. I’d like to share my culture. I come from Spain but I’m from the southern part of the country, in an island called Gran Canaria … maar het is niet zo groot als ik denkt … hahaha die mensen, alleen!!! hehehe you would not get lost here I think!! It’s a little paradise in the middle of three continents and I’m very proud of it hehehe but my second love if Holland and its people, culture, music (Rood van marco borsato, for example) … I’d like to share things with all of you like food or something like that haha such as ‘gofio’ or ‘sancocho’ muahaha it could be very interesting to taste something different. From now I know what a ‘pannekoeken’ is hehe en het smaakt goed!!!! So, whenever you want to, we can go on blogging with each other about more advertisements here.

    Ayatima

    • I’m afraid I don’t know where the humanities fac is, but the university housing office should definitely be able to tell you what they have near the centre of the city. If not, try http://www.kamerhulp.nl. Good luck!

      Gran Canaria sounds lovely, but Holland, although less sunny, can be very pretty too. I recommend you get involved with the ISN and the ESN when you come to Leiden, as they’ll be able to tell you about all sorts of opportunities to take part in cultural events and share experiences with people from all over the world who come to study here!

  10. Hi Leideners!

    My name is Hannah and I am new to Leiden this semester.

    I’m a huge fan of your blog – I read lots of your posts before moving over and it was such a great way to get to know the city and university before arriving.

    I have a quick question for you all, I have set up a blog too to record my experiences in Leiden during my year away. It is mostly for the purposes of my scholarship (a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship) but it is also to keep in touch with friends and family back home. I was wondering if you would mind if I list your blog as a link on my blog? It’s such a great resource that I know people back home would enjoy reading.

    Thanks guys and keep up the great work!

    Hannah

  11. Hi all,

    I’m a prospective Master of Public Administration student hoping to start in February. I’ll like to get to know other master students, especially those in the above mentioned master programme.

    Julius.

    • Hi Julius! One really easy way to find other people on your course is to search for people and groups on Facebook. For example, if you go to the ISN Leiden Facebook page, then from there you might be able to find new friends and classmates. And it’s a good way to find out what events are happening in the international student community here.

  12. Pingback: Ik hou van Naturalis | theleidener

  13. Hello!

    My name is Gema, I’m Spanish, and I will be graduating for the International Baccalaureate programme this year. I think LUC the Hague it’s just perfect, so I hope to start BA International Studies next September 2014! Did any of you applied with the IB? If so, do I have to take a language level exam? (I did my IB programme in spanish). And do I have to live in the Ana van Buerenplein compulsory? or that’s just for the Global Challenges students? It’s a really nice building!!

    I’m sorry for all the questions, just want to make sure I’m doing it the right way, Congratulations on the blog, it’s so incredible it makes want to catch a plane to Leiden right now!

    Thank you very much.

  14. Hey! My name is Raphael I’m brazilian, actually from the same town as Beatriz, and I’m applying for the BA on International Studies in Leiden. It’s great to see so many people from so many different international backgrounds in Leiden, makes me feel even more excited about going there :) Do any of you guys have tips for a prospective student in the BA?? Especially regarding the application process? Thanks!! Hope to see you all in september!

  15. Hi, everyone =) My name is Raufs, I am from Latvia. Intended to come to Leiden for this year’s autumn BA programme in Southeast Asia Studies. Just wishing to establish some connections with other people. Any tips on application procedures, beginning of living etc are very welcome. I am quit serious guy, interested in business, politics, but loving literature, philosophy, good music, sharing experience. Something relatively intellectual, but not snob. Wish we will accomplish survival during the first year here. =) ;-)

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