A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Spring is coming! In the Netherlands, it is known as the time of the year when tulips and other flowers are in bloom, people spend more and more time outside, and the amount of tourists suddenly increases exponentially.
However, some young people may find springtime rather stressful. Many of them are trying to decide where to apply to study and, after making the decision, they are anxiously waiting for the admission letter from university of their choice.
The application process may even be the reason why you ended up reading The Leidener. Hence, I decided to list a few things that, for me, are good reasons to study in Leiden. I hope they help you in deciding whether Leiden would be the right place for you.
If you already study in Leiden, feel free to comment whether you agree with me!
History and reputation
This was probably the most important reason for me to apply to study in Leiden; since I was planning to move abroad, I wanted to get a good education that will be appreciated also overseas.
Leiden University has not let me down. It has a long history and many famous scientists have studied here before. Most importantly, it is not just the background that makes people to think highly of Leiden. Instead, also many of the current professors are very well-known in the Netherlands and abroad, and the university ranks high on university rankings.
Therefore, I feel confident that no matter where I end up after my graduation, a diploma from Leiden will be helpful later in life.
I really like the interactive way of teaching that is emphasized in Leiden (even though as a shy Finn I was quite terrified in the beginning, hehe). As a psychology student, I don’t just attend lectures but also workgroup sessions that are held every, or every second, week.
Teachers in Leiden encourage students to participate, question, and discuss about what has been taught. If you can reason your opinion, no one will judge you if you disagree with your professor. I constantly get the feeling that lectures are given by people who clearly enjoy teaching, which makes lectures much more enjoyable.
I admit that the amount of presentations and essays that need to be done stresses me out quite often. However, in only 1.5 years studying in Leiden has made me a lot better performer and academic writer, so it all does have a point.
I’ve written about this before, but I mention it once again: Leiden is a small town but incredibly international. You don’t spend a day in here without hearing several foreign languages. Thanks to that, it is easy to fit in as an international student.
Since Leiden is small, you can feel safe around here even when you’re getting home from a party in the wee hours.
Finding an apartment, or a room, is often tricky in Leiden, but the fact that you don’t need to think whether it will be safe to live in a given area makes it much easier. As far as I know, there are no restless neighborhoods, unlike in some bigger cities in the Netherlands.
When I was moving to Leiden, an acquaintance who had studied here before said to me that Leiden is the prettiest place on Earth. That time I thought he was exaggerating, but now I believe he wasn’t.
After 18 months in here, I still get stunned by the canals and the old, cute houses by them every single day. Leiden has also charmed all my Finnish friends who have visited me, which is really good, since it makes them want to travel here over and over again!