A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

A year in Leiden

I’ve popped home to England for a while. No, not for the Olympics, although for the first time ever I’ve watched some events and have been amazed at what incredible feats the human body can be pushed to perform. Up here near Newcastle we’ve had serious flooding, with chest-high muddy water surging through city streets. What a way to start the summer, eh?

The weather has settled down now, and the “I’m at home so I have to make sure I see you, you and you” rounds have been completed. Now I’ve had a chance to sit back and take some time to reflect on the past year at Leiden University. Reading what other bloggers here at The Leidener have written, I’ve been inspired to add my own impressions of student life.

I think the main thing that has struck me about doing my Master’s at Leiden has been the space I’ve been given to do my own thing. I feel that I’ve been allowed room to explore my own areas of interest, try out new things, and grow as a result. The benefit of a two year Research Master’s in that I’ve felt that I have an extra year to take courses that don’t necessarily relate directly to my studies. While I worried a little about my choices at the start of the year, in fact these were the courses I enjoyed most, and got the most out of.

The really great parts of this last year – meeting new friends, international experiences – are made bitter-sweet with the goodbyes, as people return to their home countries, or move on to new adventures. This is the lot of an international student, endless hellos and goodbyes. But would I change it, and study in a perhaps more stable environment at home? I don’t think so. I’ve learned so much this year, and on previous exchange years, through these somewhat brief encounters, and friendships have been forged that have overcome distance and time.

So now, looking forward to coming back to Leiden and spending the last few weeks of summer in our beautiful little city, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to meeting more and more people, and filling what may be my last year in Leiden with memories.

2 comments on “A year in Leiden

  1. John D
    August 1, 2012

    Hi there, see as a UK student living in Leiden, what’s do you think is the biggest difference between uni in NL and uni in the UK? I’m just about to head over from Edinburgh and can’t wait to get started, but is there anything you’d recommend doing or bringing before I get there/as I arrive.

    Cheers, John.

    • theleidener
      August 2, 2012

      Hi John! Hmm, good question. I think that education-wise, it is hard to spot a clear difference, as all UK unis vary so much anyway. One thing I’ve noticed is that classes tend to be quiet, with very few people daring to answer even simple questions, whereas I am used to a lot of discussion. Also, here we’re international students, and that means that the experience we have is different to the experience we had in the UK. The good part of that is that I think we feel a drive to do and experience as much as possible, because of the novelty and the short length of time we spend here. I would recommend going to all the introduction days/events/parties, and try to make a few Dutch friends. They can give you insider tips about not just Leiden life, but also how the uni works. Hope that is helpful! Let us know if you have any more questions. Look forward to meeting you in September!

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2012 by in Emily, Study and tagged , , , .

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