A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Third year, senior year. Looking at the incoming freshmen every year, I feel a twinge of nostalgia. Watching them make the same mistakes we made, having some of the same experiences we had, I have come to realize that university is a rite of passage. If you say university is boring, I’m going to hit you with a sauce pan. Your time at university can possible just become the best time of your life that you will learn to embrace in your older days. Sure it can be terrible at some point, but isn’t life about making the most of it all?
In university you come to realize that you have friends from high school you’ve known for ages and then there’s these people you spend just three years with. However, as Abraham Lincoln once said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Two years of growing up together teaches you a lot and the older you become the tighter the bonds become. You come to make your own international family, that in the end you feel inseparable with.
University forces you to grow up, discover yourself and make the most of everything. It is the beginning of independence and forming your whole own life away from the choices you made back home. A tabula rasa. It makes you perceive cultures differently, watch the news with a different mindset because you interact with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The trick to fitting into a global environment is to not tolerate other cultures and differences but to understand them as well. It doesn’t mean you have to change yourself and alter your morals and ideals, but keep an open mind and accept the differences that in the end might bring us even closer together.
There’s the array of dinners, parties, hangovers, essays, exams, etc., that we do on repeat but they never get old. I don’t know about you guys but every time I think university is getting a tiny bit monotonous there’s always something that shows up in the picture. If you’re in the mood to make new friends, start a dinner club, or go listen to a local band play, or just go to Scheveningen for a walk along the beach (mind the weather!) or take up a hobby. The country is full of people, you just have to open your eyes.
One of the inherent problems of an international study, is keeping in touch and visiting each other. With flight prices rising every other season, and everyone planning on living in different continents after we graduate, visiting a friend isn’t always going to be a short train ride away or a ten hour road trip. Luckily enough, thanks to globalization we can be close by even miles apart from each other. As the first generation graduating from International Studies I truly hope that each and every one of us will find their own path and passion and work towards a better future wherever we might end up making our futures at.