The Leidener

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

That Feeling of Belonging

Let’s start with a warning: I am likely to write several “Saying Goodbye” or “As The End Approaches” sort of posts in the upcoming months, especially since I like to get nostalgic and a little emotional (not in the lets sit and cry sense but more to sit and take a moment to appreciate past experiences and memories etc.) So be prepared and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I remember sometime early on in my first year, one day I was walking around one of the shopping streets (which were all closed because Monday mornings…) and I saw a friend on a bike and another at the back of the bike cycling past waving and saying “Helloooooo!!“.  As I greeted them back, I found myself smiling since this wasn’t the kind of thing that would happen in Istanbul. At least the odds are way narrower since one is a city of almost 20 million and the other is 500.000.

Three years later, I am sitting at a café and only in the past hour I have seen at least 10 people I know either pass by the street or also be sitting at the same café; recognizing, smiling, waving… And that’s when I noticed that I will miss this… This feeling of belonging, this feeling of a community…

CC Korte Poten

I’m a big city girl, I was born and raised in Istanbul and I love its chaotic vibe. In August I’ll be heading to Amsterdam for my Masters and thus I’ll be back right in the middle of millions and their chaos. I have been quite excited about that move but I must admit that these past three years have changed me a bit and I have also learned to appreciate this community vibe that a small city gives. The way you know the cashiers, baristas, bartenders or even the people you simply pass by the street each and every day…

It also helps that we are hundreds and hundreds of BAIS students in one small city:

When you go to Coffee Company (where I am at the moment) you know you will see someone you know. When you go to Plein or Grote Markt or Fiddler, you know you will see people you know. When you go to a party in a club, there will be at least another 20-50 BAIS students if not a hundred.

When and if you do come to The Hague and you study BAIS I can guarantee that you will be part of a pretty awesome community and see familiar faces wherever you go.

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