A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

First Week Back

 This week the first semester began for real, and classes and clubs began in earnest. This post is a bit of a reflection on getting back into studying after the long summer holiday, and about some new things I’ve learned and tried.


I spent last week trying out a range of classes, before settling on the few that I will take for credit this semester. Each teacher described the classes in a really engaging manner, and my classmates seem eager, interested, and interesting. Embarrassingly, I  had quite forgotten that a new semester requires new reading material, and so a couple of hasty book orders were placed online. Let’s hope they arrive in time for this week’s lessons…

Enrolling on uSis

I always find this a chore and a challenge, but it has to be done. At the international students’ introduction days I learned some useful tips, which made enrolling a LOT easier this year for me:

1)     Don’t look up courses by name on uSis. I made this mistake last semester. Instead, look up the course by the prospectus code.

2)     Think creatively about the final letter in the class codes when it comes to enrolling for final papers/exams. In my Master’s classes, we do a final research paper, rather than an exam. However, for these final papers, some Master’s courses require an enrollment for a tentamen (test), the code for which ends in ‘T’. Some require an enrollment for a paper, with a code ending in ‘R’.

3)     If in doubt, double check the codes for each class with the Secretary for each Faculty.

4)     There are 2 times per semester for enrollment: at the start, and again later on for the exams/papers. Don’t forget!

Maybe this is old news for most readers, but it helped me, so I thought I’d share.


On Wednesday I went to Einstein’s pub for the weekly ISN-led international students’ night. The weather had taken a turn for the worse that day, and frantic messages were sent between my friends about how best to negotiate a bike and an umbrella at the same time. I arrived in a downpour, with soggy trousers, but soon warmed up due to the body heat from the huge crowd in the pub. I had a really fun time, and got to meet even more new people, which was great.

ISN clubs

Last night I went to the meet and greet meeting for the language exchange club. I arrived, made myself a name badge which said what languages I speak and which ones I want to learn/practice. I’m on the lookout for Japanese speakers to practice with, or Dutch speakers so that I can finally improve my Nederlands. Alas, there were no Japanese speakers, and only two Dutch people, but maybe I’ll find some conversation partners at a later language exchange event.

This week I’ll be going to the intro meetings for the yoga club and the arts and crafts club. I’m hoping to be more flexible and more crafty by the end of the year!

4 comments on “First Week Back

  1. lml885
    September 18, 2012

    Hello Emily, my name is Lauren and I am a prospective student of Leiden and I just started following the Leidener blog. I am wondering, what program are you in? Are you enjoying it? Would you reccommend the university? I am thinking about doing a master’s in linguistics. Do you know anyone there who is doing that?



    • theleidener
      September 18, 2012

      Hi Lauren! I’m on the Research Master in Area Studies, focusing on Japan. It’s a two year master’s program, and I feel that I’ve had a lot of space to work independently and on my own areas of interest, so I’ve really really enjoyed it so far.

      I know a few people now who are doing the master’s in Linguistics, and they seem to be having a good time so far. There seem to be a wide range of courses in Linguistics, but I don’t know too much about the workload/content etc.

      Overall, yes, I’d definitely recommend the university for a Master’s. I think the level of education is good, and the price (for someone who’s alternative would be the UK) makes it really attractive!

      Hope this is helpful!

  2. a
    September 21, 2012

    hi emily, i’m new in leiden and i appear to have missed the introductory events. i was wondering if you could tell me a little about the ISN and international students night and how i can get involved in this. thanks!

    • theleidener
      September 23, 2012

      Hi! If you missed the intro events, don’t worry! There’s always loads of fun things to do throughout the year. ISN are an international student organisation that organise events and parties. This is their website: You could start by coming along to Einstein’s pub on Wednesday evenings after 10pm, as they hold a weekly international student night. If you are on Facebook, you can search for ISN Leiden and from their page you can see events and clubs to join. Hope this helps!

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2012 by in Emily, ISN, Study and tagged , , .

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