A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
This year of 2016 has made me a LEIDENER! I never thought two years back to drop by here for next one year with Advanced Masters in Law and Digital Technologies at the Leiden University. In fact, Leiden is not a regular destination for most of the Bangladeshi students who wish to study abroad (I Am from Bangladesh). But, sometimes you are destined to something precious and value driven that changes your life course slightly a degree. So does happened to me! I was looking for a specialized master’s course that combines both the legal and technological aspects. My focus was Europe as it is more diverse than North America, East Asia and Australasia is terms of innovation, culture, heritage, and of course mobility within ‘Schengen’ countries! Yes, the wonderful part of “Schengen Countries” is that you can meet people without being stopped in border gate which assures you the most important aspect of human civilization that is the “human touch”. I believe human touch is the key to move forward this civilization which works as antidote to any kind of extremism, separatism, mistrust, discrimination, racism and so on.
So, I found three countries, including Netherlands, offering a specialized master’s degree in “law and digital technology”. Then I decided to go for Leiden University (LU). Although LU ranks better than two of my other options (the Law Faculty ranks 23rd worldwide as per QS World Ranking 2016), but it is not that much important to me as statistical ranking is not always the true parameter for knowledge aptitude. I choose Netherlands because of a historical tie of Dutch people (known as Olôndaj in Bangladesh) with the people of ‘Bengal’ during early 1600 century. After Portuguese, it was the Dutch (before the English people) who landed in the then India including the Bengal for trading purpose. And during 1700 to 1800 century, the Bengal was one of the richest regions in the world because of the Dutch and British traders who exported our world famous silk, cotton and spices to the rest of the world. Not only this, the Dutch people left some influences to our culture and literature as well. We have learnt making Bangladeshi version (or you can call Indian version as well) of jam and jelly mainly from the Portuguese and Dutch! Our language Bangla also contains some Dutch words like Iskrup (from original schroef), Iskabon (from original schoppen), Turup (from original troef) etc. And we have some Dutch establishments sill remaining in the capital city Dhaka. So, because of human touch; the history, culture, heritage, language etc. got reciprocally influenced. That was the motivation and interesting factor for me behind choosing Netherlands. Because I felt some kind of historical tie to Netherlands and again I wanted to find whether there is anything left of that tie still or not. So, finally I have ended up here, strolling around the charming, old Rapenburg Street during the evening twilight of this winter, in quest for historical tie with Bengal!