A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Heads up: it’s amazing! You didn’t expect that, did you? 😉
No, seriously. When I first started this program back in September 2013, I was a bit sceptical of its organization because Leiden University had just started offering the International Bachelor in Psychology. As it turned out, I was proven wrong most of the times. Now here is why:
The program is monitored by a number of highly competent and dedicated study advisors, who are always available (either in person or via E-Mail) and really try to take your concerns and issues seriously. By that I mean that I know numerous cases where the study advisors actively sought solutions so that students could continue their studies or improve the quality of education of certain classes. In my opinion, this aspect is really important given the fact that you might feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginnings of your studies due to heavy workload, new country, new friends, personal issues etc. and all these things might affect your study progress. So it can be comforting to have advisors to reach out to, I feel.
While the first year has a fixed set of courses you need to complete in order to obtain your ‘propedeuse’, you can go wild with psychology-related and non-psychology-related courses, from Leiden University or even other universities, at least for the most part of your second year and fully in your third year. You can design your mandatory psychology-electives with a clinical profile and/or a neuroscientific profile. For your non-psychology electives you can opt for a minor from other faculties or fill up those credits with any other course you’re interested in (can still be psychology, for more overviews of courses and minors go to the e-prospectus). What is most important to consider here is that every course you choose outside of Psychology has to be approved by uSis (system that registers your courses and grades). But you will for sure receive detailed information from the study coordinators, so don’t worry.
So if you’re like me, your interests might change quite a bit throughout your studies because you will gain so much insight into many different fields of Psychology. Having the freedom to design your academic profile according to your interest is a huge deal to me. Luckily, the IBP program offered me the possibility to introduce and deepen my knowledge in the world of neuroscience, which is a big plus for where I see myself in the future.
I can say without a doubt that all lecturers that I had were extremely competent in their fields and passionate about their work. Now there might be a difference to the didactic qualities between some lecturers…. But that did never speak for their competence and professionality. All professors, lecturers, scholars etc. are very responsive to your curiosity and will even guide you if you have questions about their job, your master’s choice, internships etc. I can only strongly recommend to make use of that because who else can guide you if not them?
Since this is an international program you will encounter people from all over the world. From Finland, England, Greece, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, United States, Turkey, Denmark, Seychelles, Curacao, Iran, Colombia, China… you will probably be able to extend this list once you start the program J This is truly one of the best things happened to me. Being able to learn about and experience the different cultures of my co-students was one of the most enriching experiences of this program. Next to going international in your friendships, you can also learn to network with international scholars and researchers because the university offers many seminars, meetings, discussions and conferences that are accessible to students as well. Prepare to be amazed once it’s your turn!
All in all, looking back on the past two years makes me feel very grateful and happy. Choosing the IBP program was clearly the right choice because it was exactly what I wanted: a program that challenges me academically and broadens my horizon by offering diversity in courses and cultures!