A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Favourite place in Holland: Amsterdam (more specifically the Rijks Museum)
Favourite Dutch food: Stroopwaffles :)
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.
Programme/Course: Economic and Consumer Psychology Masters Program
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2015
Previous education: Bachelor in Psychology, Atma Jaya Catholic University Jakarta
Favourite Dutch food: stroopwaffels, rookworst, poffertjes
Favourite Dutch place: Van der Werff Park and Burcht van Leiden (Leiden), Japanse Tuin (Den Haag)
Hallo! I’m Christa, a multilingual-wannabe and former corporate recruiter who got hooked to marketing. That new-found passion is what drove me to take that 15-hour flight from Indonesia to The Netherlands. Love can make you do crazy things, right? Other guilty pleasures in my life include matcha latte, Friends’ reruns, Korean variety shows, Tony Bennet songs, and boybands. I’m directionally-challenged and yet a wanderlust by heart. I’m here to share my journeys and all its random goodness. Hopefully those entries will inspire you to take a journey of your own and enjoy life in Leiden as it unfolds.
Programme/Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences (Global Challenges)
Hometown: Brunswick, Germany
In The Hague since August 2014
Previous education: St Leonards School in St Andrews, Scotland
Favourite Dutch food: Patat met pindasaus (French fries with peanut sauce)
Moin! My name is Christian and I’m currently studying World Politics with Journalism at the Leiden University College in the Hague. After finishing my IB in Scotland, and before coming to the Hague, I spend six months in the north-west of Argentina volunteering and travelling around. This is why I had my application interview for LUC over Skype, which was pretty exciting!
Coming to the Netherlands was definitely one of the better decisions I have made so far: for one, you have these large, international cities like the Hague where there’s always something going on. On the other side, there are loads of small, sleepy and picturesque townships where you can escape the buzz of the metropolis for a while. Just strolling along the Graacht all day with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other lets me remember that life is good (and makes me forget about that course deadline).
Through this blog, I hope I can give you guys a few insights into student life in and around the Hague. If there is anything you’d like to know, see or read about in particular, feel free to contact me!
Favourite Dutch Food: Brown bread with ham and cheese, and a stroopwafel with hot koffie verkeerd (coffee the wrong way!)
Favourite Dutch Place: Utrecht (city), Tropenmuseum and Verzetsmuseum (museums)
Previous studies: History in Universitas Indonesia (2009-2013)
Hello! My name is Crystal and I am now pursuing a Master’s in Asian Studies with a concentration in the History, Arts and Culture of Asia. You can easily spot me among hundreds of Leiden students, I’m that Asian girl who is daring enough to dye part of her hair blue. I love talking about history, especially about Chinese migration and Chinese diaspora, but I am also a pop culture geek at heart. I also love traveling and hiking A LOT. You can see me daily in the library, studying for my thesis, or sipping hot coffee in Den Haag’s hipster coffee bars.
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!
Course: BA International Studies
Hometown: Bremen, Germany
In Leiden/The Hague: since September 2013
Favourite Dutch food: Poffertjes
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!
Course: MA Asian Studies (East Asian Studies, Chinese track)
Hometown: Rome, Italy
In Leiden: Since January 2015
Previous Studies: Oriental Studies (Chinese language and culture) @ University La Sapienza in Rome + two exchanges at Beijing Foreign Studies University
Favourite Dutch food: Stroopwafels
Favourite place: all of Leiden!
Hello everyone. I’m Zoe (or Giulia, as you please) and I hail from the Eternal City. I am utterly in love with Chinese culture, both classical and modern. I like to see how societies and cultures change generation after generation, and that’s why I love to study contemporary Chinese history, politics, society and artistic expressions (especially music and literature).
I love a relaxed lifestyle and I’m not very outdoorsy. But because I like to stay at home, I’m an eager learner. I sign up to as many MOOC’s as I can and read a lot. That does not mean I don’t like to travel, as I jump on a train as soon as I have enough finances! The Netherlands is an awesome place to do this, since it’s so small but packed with beautiful things to see.
I hope my words on the blog will bring to you the same passion I have about the things I cherish, and the awesome experiences I’m living here. Ciao!
Course: MSc in Astronomy, with a specialisation in Cosmology
Hometown: Delhi, India
In Leiden: Since 2014
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)!
Programme: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges
Hometown: Kings Park, New York, United States
In Leiden/The Hague since… August 2014
Previous education: Kings Park High School, Class of 2014
Favourite Dutch Food/Place: Poffertjes! (Small, thick pancakes with powdered sugar)
Hi! I’m Laurie, a second year at Leiden University College in The Hague. I moved here in the summer after I finished high school on Long Island, New York. I’ve never before lived or extensively traveled abroad, and I don’t like coffee at all, so I suppose that makes me quite unique in the world of bloggers! Since living in the Netherlands, however, I’ve been travelling quite a bit around Europe and also when I’m home in the United States. My main hobbies for the time I do spend in The Hague are cooking, playing volleyball, and sharing political articles on my Facebook page (sorry, Facebook friends!). I also spend a lot of time studying, which I don’t mind because my major is International Justice, which is not only super interesting, but also serves as an excellent complement to the beautiful city I live in!
I look forward to writing a bit about my life, and hope to give you some authentic insight into what it is really like to study at Leiden University! Of course, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
Course: MSc Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity & Conservation
Hometown: Heraklion, Crete, Greece
In Leiden: Since August 2014
Previous Studies: Biology, University of Crete
Favourite Dutch Place: Nationale Opera & Ballet or wherever I can spot a glimpse of sunlight!
A Southerner, a daydreamer, an idealistic introvert who has already lived more than one lifetimes in her head. A reader, an islander, a thinker, who values intentions more than outcomes. Girl who blossoms in Spring and hibernates in winter. An advocate for self growth and strong believer that love and compassion are the only way. Passionate about all things animal, lives to preach that there is no bad day a dog can’t fix. By the time this life will be over she will have travelled to all seven continents, learned how to speak French and have been reunited with her karma carrier who currently lives in the southernmost part of Europe. She promised her fairy godmother she will make a difference and she is determined to do so, because she never breaks a promise. When she is not travelling physically, she projects astrally to warm sunny places, where she can be close to the sea and be reunited with her loved ones.
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam
Course: MA Asian Studies (History, Arts, and Culture of Asia)
In Leiden: since February 2014
Previous Studies: Underwood International College, Yonsei University, South Korea; Hosei University, Japan
Leiden newbie. An Asian girl at heart. Japanese culture enthusiast. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Scorpio. INTJ. Living in a world of wanderlust. Always dream of writing my own chick-lit. Passion for cutesy vintage. Ice cream lover. Cat person. Completely lost in life but fine with it. Deceptive appearance. Skeptical personality but will always do things with all my heart.
Words said it all. Hope you (and I) will find out how these tiny little fragmented puzzle pieces all make sense in my blog posts.
Programme: BA International Studies
Hometown: The Hague
In The Hague since forever…
Previous education: Dalton Den Haag
Favorite Dutch food: Oliebollen? Stroopwafels? Stamppot? So many options!
“Hey there! My name is Roxy, and sadly I’m not an international student. In fact, I’ve lived in The Hague my entire life, and I’m 100% Dutch – which I personally find a bit boring! Having been in the International Studies programme for about 2.5 years now, I’ve met people from a huge multitude of places, and I’ve built up quite an international group of friends.
Last semester, I finally got to see the other side of the coin and be an international student myself, when I spent a semester in the United States to study at the College of William and Mary. All of a sudden, I was the one in a new place, knowing no one, having to take care of myself and living on my own for the first time. Although it was challenging from time to time, it opened my eyes to how much you can learn from taking a leap and moving to a new place, and helped me understand the experiences of my international peers here in The Hague a lot better.
One of my favorite parts of my semester abroad was traveling all across the U.S. West coast by myself. Another highlight was celebrating Sinterklaas with my friends at William and Mary. I managed to convince them to sing along to Sinterklaas Kapoentje, and we all enjoyed the care package full of kruidnoten my parents had sent me. It was a truly special experience. :)”
Program: International Studies (BAIS)
Hometown: San Francisco, CA / Abu Dhabi, UAE
In The Hague since: August 2014
Previous education: University of Victoria (2013-2014)
Favorite Dutch food: Gevulde speculaas
Favorite Dutch place: The fields
Hello! I’m Sabrina, and I read The Leidener before I moved to Holland and I’m now excited to be a contributing author. I am American-Taiwanese and was raised in Abu Dhabi, though I spend most of my summers in America and Taiwan. I’m fairly studious but I’m also very easily swayed by all the fun to be had outdoors, and I carry a bucket list wherever I go. I have fairly diverse experiences with education – I’ve attended an all-girls school in Abu Dhabi, a boarding school in the mountains of Taiwan (where I completed my IB), and a university on a beautiful Canadian island! However, the things I haven’t experienced far outweigh the things I have, and I can only hope to strike a balance.
My interest in politics and culture led me to this program and my first time living in Europe. Life here is incredibly different from places I’ve lived before. I know how hard it can be to live somewhere so entirely new so I hope this blog provides some comfort in that regard! I hope to take some nice photos and videos for you along with my posts about The Hague and beyond. Please enjoy!
Programme: MA International Relations
Hometown: London, England
In Leiden: since August 2015
Previous education: BA History University of Leicester
Favourite Dutch Food: Kibbeling and raw herring!
Hello! I’m London-born, and I have lived and studied in Valencia and Leicester. After finishing my BA in History and working in a London school for a year, I decided to quench my academic thirst by applying for an MA at Leiden. A few months later I found I had escaped the grey bustle and drizzle of London for, well, a slightly wetter and windier small beautiful Dutch town. No regrets. Here you can find my subjective writings on travel, culture, art, architecture and music. Feel free to contact me!
Programme/Course: Psychology (English)
Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany
In Leiden since: September 2013
Previous education: BA in English Literature & Culture from the University of Bonn, Germany
Favourite Dutch food: Chocomel
Favourite Dutch place: every single canal!
My name is Sepi and I’m Iranian-German. One of the best things that I learned, while living in Leiden, is appreciation for the little things such as taking a walk along the canal and experiecing the calming effect of water. In my free time I like to sit by the docks, think about my pug Coco, oreo cookies, psychology & society…oh, and the brain isn’t too bad of a subject either! Since I was growing up in-between cultures, I’d like to impart some of my knowledge, ideas and experiences with you guys and shed light on the challenges and opportunities of living abroad as an international. My mantra is: let’s focus on the solution, not the problem :)
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,
Hometown: Huainan, China
Course: MSc Political Science
Favorite Dutch food: Poffertjes
Favorite Dutch place: Clingendael
In the Netherlands: Since August 2012
Hi! I am Xueyan Xing, MSc student of Political Science coming all the way from China. This is my fourth year at Leiden University; my Bacherlor’s programme was Liberal Arts and Sciences. to be honest, I am still quite excited to be able to live and study here. Although life as a Master’s student is quite intense, I still squeeze out some spare time to do extra-curricular stuff such as calligraphy, traveling, singing, and reading. I am also addicted to library-studying; most of the time you will be able to spot me in the Social and Behavioral Science Library and the UB. To cut the long story short, I love being a Leidener, and I hope my blog entries would be a fun read.
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!
Hometown: Bath, UK
Course: MA Ancient History
A Leidener: September 2011-May 2013
Previous Universities: University of Southampton 2007-2008, Cardiff University 2008-2011
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.
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!
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!
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!
Course: MA Language and Communication
Hometown: Saalfelden, Austria
In Leiden: since August 2014
Previous Studies: University of Innsbruck (2008-2012)
“After finishing my degree in English language and literature in Austria, I decided to move to London in order to live with some of my international friends (and our awesome cat Obama) that I made while travelling/couchsurfing through the world. After two years in the big city, I felt that it was time for a change and decided to pursue my academic career. At this point, Leiden presented the perfect place for me to decelerate my life and get my feet back on solid ground. Since I moved here, I have been loving every minute of it. A short while ago I started writing a blog about low-impact living and sustainability projects and therefore, the opportunity to write for the Leidener gave me the chance to further practice my writing and share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences that I’ve had since I moved here.
When I am not writing about life in the Netherlands, I am usually out exploring the city on my opafiets, sauntering along streets markets and small shops, sitting by a gracht or in my living room, planning my off-grid tiny house that I want to build next year.”
All the best,
Age : 23
Course: MSc Political Science
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
In Leiden: August 2009-May 2014
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.
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.
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.
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Course: BA English Language and Culture, Minor in Psychology
In Leiden: August 2009 –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.
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!
Hometown: Xi’an, China
Study Program: MSc Media Technology
In Leiden: August 2011-May 2014
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. ^ ^
Course: MSc Consumer Psychology and Business, Bangor University
Hometown: Chelmsford, United Kingdom
In Leiden: August 2013-August 2014
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…
Course: Philosophy and Theology
Hometown: Stamford, England
In Leiden/The Hague: August 2014-December 2014 (exchange student)
Previous Studies: The University of St Andrews (2012-2016)
Favourite Dutch Food: Pannenkoeken
I absolutely love to travel, so when the opportunity arose to burst out of the (albeit beautiful) bubble of my tiny University town (St Andrews, Scotland), I welcomed it with open arms. Coming to Leiden and The Hague for an Erasmus semester was scary stuff, but definitely one of the best decisions I have made. I’m currently trying to embrace the Dutch culture – windmills, clogs, stroopwafel etc. whilst getting over my complete inability to cycle… but Leiden, with its picturesque streets, incredible courses and fabulous people, isn’t too bad a place to try :)
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.
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.]
Hometown: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Course: MSc Media Technology
In Leiden: July –September 2012, February 2013 – May 2015
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.
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
Course: Res. MSc. Social and Organizational Psychology
In Leiden: September 2012-September 2014
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.
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!
Hometown: New Delhi, India
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.
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.
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……
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 :).
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.
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!
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.