A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
What a wonderful day!
To be said in advance: The ceremony in the church was professionally organised with a lot of heart, which created an unforgettable experience to conclude the past three years of study. So to those, who hesitate to take part next year, believe me: You should not miss it! It’s worth even a long(er) journey.
On the day of our graduation, the graduate, their parents, friends and families, who insisted on being part of the ceremony, arrived from all over the world. Whether from Russia by car, flown in with more than ten people from England, or just by train from Germany, regardless of where from and how long it took. The hundreds of graduates and guests were waiting cheerfully and exited in the sunshine outside the church. We had perfect weather: sunshine, only a few clouds and a slight breeze. Outside the doors, we were all greeting each other, congratulating and being happy to meet again. For some, it was seeing each other the first time after a while, and perhaps even a “goodbye” for a long time or even the last time.
The doors to the church opened punctually, and while the guests took their seats, we, the more than 200 graduates, got ready for the ceremony. Every one of us received a graduation cap and a sash, saying “International Studies – Graduate 2016”. It was a great feeling wearing those two graduation accessories, and moreover also a very nice gift from the university to remember this special day.
To entertain the waiting guests, a slideshow of pictures from us students was running on numerous monitors in the church, as well as a film about the history of the University of Leiden. In the meantime we were friendly and professionally arranged so that we would arrive in the correct order on the church seats. A great effort – big thanks to all the people, who have worked in the background to make the ceremony run smoothly.
The celebration began with the academic procession, led by the deans, and followed by many teachers of the past three years. After that, we – the graduates – went through this old church to our seats. A speech by the Dean opened the graduation ceremony. Also, music was played, prizes were awarded, and finally the graduation diplomas were handed out. I am not going to reveal too much at this point, but it was certainly worth being part of the concluding event for our past three years of working.
Later, after the ceremony, Leiden was full with cheerfully celebrating people. Since I was still wearing my sash, strangers often congratulated me on my way – a very happy and proud feeling. At night, many of us met at Grote Markt, back in The Hague, to end this special day with a last drink together.
What a wonderful day!