A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Your first week in lovely Leiden? The Leidener welcomes the new students

Hello dear new arrivals, I hope you have had a great journey and arrived save and sound in this wonderful town?! Doesn’t it look like a winter wonderland at the moment? I hope you managed to drag your heavy suitcases through all that snow that has invaded Leiden recently.

leiden ice


But no worries, it will not be like that the whole semester, Leiden was just a little bit too excited for you to come. It will get warmer soon and you will be able to sit ouside on one of the boats of the cafés at Nieuwe Rijn.

leiden summer


I reckon you have unpacked all your stuff already, have had a first little wander around the town and some chats with your floor mates. But what now? Thinking back to my first week two years ago, I can assure you, you really don’t need to worry about getting bored. I think I barely was in my room in this first week, and met more people than I have met in a whole semester in my previous university. Leiden will make it easy for you to make friends and keep yourself entertained. It’s a small town with a very lovely international community; all of them are or used to be in the same situation as you are, all are new in town and willing to make friends. But where to find them?

A lot of things are organized by the ISN, a group of Dutch and international students, who you can visit in person in the common room on the opposite of Plexus and virtually on the Facebook group “ISN Leiden Official” ( The ISN organizes day trips, parties and various clubs such as the music club, the arts and crafts club, the movie club, the cooking club or the vox newspaper.

cooking club

The cooking club

Here are the links of the most important Facebook groups you can join:

The movie club:

The sports club:

The arts and craft club:

The cooking club:

The ISN language exchange:

The music club:

And here are some examples of things you can do in the first week:

Monday: It’s international Monday at Odessa, a bar next to the canal Nieuwe Rijn, the entrance is in “Hogewoerd 18”. Especially in the first weeks this place is really packed and a good way to meet people. A nice alternative to Odessa is the jazz-bar “Twee Spiegels” where you can enjoy live music on Monday from 9-12.

Tuesday: The movie club meets at 7 in the common room on the opposite of Plexus.

Wednesday: The ISN organizes a weekly party for international students at Einstein’s at Nieuwe Rijn.

Thursday: This week the introduction days will take place. I am really looking forward to this, as I will be one of the guides again. It’s the third time now I will be guiding a group of new students, and it has always been great fun. When I first arrived here in Leiden, I went to the introduction days too, and made wonderful friends, two of whom I am still spending a lot of time with; one of them, Gabrielle, is even my co-guide.

Gaby intro

So what will we be doing on these two days? We will basically listen to some lectures, show you around the uni and town, have lunch, dinner and night activities together. (Read Emily’s blog post from last September to find out more about it or check out this link: The registration closed on Friday already, but you can always just ask and try to just join a group.

Friday: The introduction days will continue. In the evening, you should not miss the “Welcome to Holland Party” at In Casa, organized by the ISN.

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself and have a great time in Leiden. I hope you will enjoy your stay, have great seminars, make nice friends and love this place as much as I do. Actually, there is no reason for hoping, I am sure you will have a wonderful time!

leiden flag

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2013 by in Katharina, Practical Stuff and tagged , , , , , .

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