A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
When it comes to the BA International Studies program, the third year first semester is where you have the most space for movement and choice. Until this point most classes were taken by all and the two choices you made so far were your area and language. (Ex: Latin America and Spanish in my case) But the third year with its discretionary space is when you actually get to shape your semester and year. The discretionary space allows you to choose between going on exchange, finding an internship or doing a minor. I personally chose doing a minor here at Leiden University since I was already abroad and settled (and of course I had classes to retake so I had to stay but shhh…) Thus this post is shaped around my experience and doesn’t apply to all third years in their first semester.
So, what’s it like to be a third year in the first semester (in Holland)?
Firstly there won’t be that many of you around. Most have gone on exchange or to internships abroad and the ones left behind are scattered around a variety of minors (/internships). The city is filling up with new students but the faces aren’t as familiar as they used to be. The times they are a changin’
You will see the incoming first years, all excited and not knowing what to expect. So joyful, full of energy, dedicated to studying and partying… Wherever there’s an event, they will be there. Seminar on inequality? Yes! Drinks for Peace? Yes!
You? You will be on the couch (by this point it may as well be a rocking chair) with your fellow third years, thinking: “Remember those days?”, “I don’t know how we used to have the energy for all of it…” or a little something like “Ah back in our day…”
When was it that I noticed we were getting old? I believe it was during the pub crawl of intro days:
In my first year during this course, there wasn’t a pub crawl during intro days but in my second year, they organized one and I don’t even know how many pubs I had been to that night, how many people I met or how many of them I forgot by the morning after!
In my third year, I and the other grandparents decided to just stop at the second pub and sit there all night, watching the first and second years hop from one pub to the other. “Guys!! One euro tequila shots at that other pub, let’s go!!” “Nah, you kids go have fun, we’ll just sit here…”
Ps. I know this post doesn’t apply to people who were abroad, but I’ve been (lovingly) jealous of all the amazing photos you’ve been sending and the stories you’ve been telling so Im gonna ignore you for the purposes of this post. Ps. I love you (and am glad that you are back)!
You can read Part 2 here: What’s It Like To Be A Third Year – Second Semester