A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
For those who don’t know, the El Cid week is the equivalent to the UK’s Fresher’s Week. For five days Leiden is taken over by fresh new students in orange, spilling out from every bar in town. The necessity of beer seems to be a universal aspect of fresher’s weeks across the globe. As the evenings progress so does the noise level and students can be heard having fun all across town from your bedroom window.
This was the first El Cid I had been involved in. Unfortunately last year I hadn’t known about the event and had arrived too late to participate. This year however, I was taking part on behalf of my theatre group, LEF. During the days of the El Cid, the streets are full of shows and entertainment, organised in the hope of generating new members for university societies and clubs.
As soon as I arrived back from the UK, two weeks before El Cid commenced, rehearsals for our own show began. The directors chose two short plays, coincidentally both about/involving smoking. Myself and the other actors involved don’t smoke so this caused a small problem, solved by the use of fake cigarettes; less authentic but also less cancerous. In two weeks that was an awful lot of lines to learn and rehearse but we did it.
The day arrived and the sun was shining for us. Originally I thought this was a good thing but as it hit 2pm the heat was somewhat oppressive. Mind you, one should never complain about the sun shining in the Netherlands! We performed in the small playground near Pieterskerk and we pulled it off without a hitch, not to mention garnered lots of sign-ups for our efforts. We were also joined by a singing man who repeatedly performed cheesy pop music. I still have no idea what he was promoting.
So, if you’re thinking about applying for Leiden University next year, make sure you’re here in time for the El Cid week!