A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
As an international student, it is always a big event when family members visit you. You usually know months in advance, and you want to plan a particularly invigorating adventure for them. You want to know what the weather will be like, what interesting festivals might be happening, and what places to visit. You don’t want them to be like tourists, because you want to show them the place you live; the place you now call home.
Often, it is impossible to plan outdoor things so far in advance, as weather rarely cooperates, but one can aim for certain things. My parents, and two sisters (along with one boyfriend), are currently visiting me. As typical of Dutch weather, the week is forecast to be mostly rainy, but we’ve made the best of it so far. Here are some tips:
1. Let them recover from jet lag as quickly as possible.
My family arrived on Saturday morning, having stayed up for about 24 hours, and I had planned to bring my sisters to a music festival with some friends. In the end, they were too tired to go out, so I let them catch up on sleep so they could be charged for the week ahead. In the end, I still had a lot of fun, and they woke up refreshed.
2. Explore the market, and cafes. Do some touristy things.
In Leiden, some things to do are to walk around the market, visit some cafes, go on a canal tour, show them where the grocery stores are (no one wants to eat out all the time), and go for some drinks at a pub. Maybe even take them to a coffeeshop… stay tuned for Part II.
3. Show them where you study.
They are here to see what life is like for you. Where do most students spend a lot of their time? For me, it’s the office, so that is where I took them on a tour of. They had some free coffee in our Kaiser Lounge, and a brief introduction to my thesis supervisor.
4. Go out for dinner, and introduce them to close friends.
As a part of being a student, you’ll meet a lot of neat, new people. Some of these people might be neater than others, and your family would love to meet them. Pick your favorite restaurant, and make reservations for your party!
5. Get out of the city.
Here’s where the weather needs to cooperate, and where Leiden has the potential to shine. In May, the sun starts to shine more and more. Yesterday, I took my family on a long journey through the dunes, over hills, and to the beach!