A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Going to a new school is hard. Going to a new school in a foreign country is really hard. Never knowing anyone who lived outside the United States, let alone in The Netherlands, I had a lot to learn about moving. So, let’s put my mistakes to good use so others don’t repeat them.
I didn’t get my BSN until November, I screwed up trying to get my DigiD last June (very, very late), and have yet to sign up for rent subsidy. Don’t be like me. It’s so much more annoying to put these things off and have to handle them later, than doing it when all of your international friends do it in August. Not only is it hard to do without the help that the school provides in the beginning of the year, but I also have significantly less time than I did before classes began last August.
Another thing to watch out for is over-packing. I’ll spare you the exact details, but let’s just say I spent way too much money shipping boxes of things I hardly needed across the pond. The Netherlands has many stores, there is absolutely no need to ship a bedspread all the way from America.
Despite my seemingly obvious errors, I did do some things right! Getting from the airport (Schipol International, Amsterdam) to LUC, for example. Fortunately, I’m spoiled in that my school, LUC, is mere meters from The Hague Central Station. LUC does this great thing where LUC students offer pickups from the airport from other students. It’s a great idea and I totally suggest it! Although the trains are relatively simple in the Netherlands, it’s also nice to meet someone new, get help with your bags, and be helped in getting an OV-chipkaart (a card used to travel within the Netherlands).
If you have any questions regarding how to prepare for your arrival or first year in general, feel free to comment below!