A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
It feels a bit strange to write my first blog for The Leidener about something other than Leiden, but then again, easy travel to other parts of Europe is one of the perks of studying here!
On Saturday I went to Dusseldorf with some friends to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), which is the Japanese equivalent to English tests like TOEFL. Weeks of cramming had passed and suddenly, it seemed, the day had arrived. The test was on Sunday (who puts a test on a Sunday?), but we travelled there the day before so we’d have a chance to see some of the city and relax a bit. We arrived an hour later than we’d planned thanks to a cancelled train to Utrecht, but quickly dropped out bags off at the hotel and hurried to get dinner. The reason we’d chosen to do the test in Dusseldorf rather than another city was that it has a large Japanese population, meaning lots of really good Japanese food. We had ramen, and oh my, it was good.
Bellies full and taste buds satiated, we found our way to the riverside where a large crowd was practicing salsa on the promenade. On the other side of the river, an unfinished theme park was silhouetted against the setting sun. In the old part of town, bars spilled out onto the streets as people enjoyed a boozy Saturday night in the warm summer air. I wish we’d been there for fun and not a test, because the party atmosphere was extremely difficult to leave behind.
After a big breakfast and some last minute revision we went to take the test. It was much harder than I’d anticipated, but I guess the experience of having done it once would help if I have to take the test again! Anyway, in celebration/consolation we treated ourselves to another bowl of ramen. Why doesn’t Leiden have a ramen shop? Who’s up for starting one?
Getting out of Leiden and the Netherlands for the weekend was a lot of fun. And the ICE in Germany was so fancy! I would completely recommend Dusseldorf for anyone taking the JLTP, and I’d love to go back again to really experience the city. And insider tips for my next visit?
Now my studies for this academic year are officially over, and even the weather has cheered up. It’s finally time to get myself to a park with friends and some mojitos.