A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
In Leiden, students are highly encouraged to participate in career days and open master’s days throughout the year. In fact, at least for us second-year psychology students, participating in two or more career events during the year is mandatory. The idea is, of course, that one would have better idea of what he or she will, and wants to, do in the future.
On Wednesday, my home faculty, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, arranged a yearly Faculty Career Orientation Day (FLO), whereas today the university-wide master’s open day took place. I attended both of these events.
In my opinion, there are many reasons to participate in career days and open days as often as you find something interesting in the program.
First of all, university open days allow you to sense the atmosphere of the faculty and the city in which the university is. Could you see yourself studying in this building? Could you imagine yourself living here? I think these are important questions when making a decision that influences on your life for several years.
Open days normally consist of information lectures about the degree programs that the university provides. Additionally, there are information markets where student associations and employers, among others, tell what they can offer to students of a given field.
Of course, with regard to bachelor’s and master’s programs, you can find most of the relevant information online, and you can always ask the staff more by email. However, getting the chance to talk with the program coordinators and current students definitely gives you more insight of how the student life at a given university would look like. And at least in my case, these events give me a whole bunch of inspiration!
Even though before I started my studies I had never thought about becoming a researcher, my dream is now to start research master’s program in 2018. Hence, this morning, I went to listen to the psychology research master information session. The lecture was given by the professor who coordinates the program. I got answers to all my questions but also to some that had never popped into my mind, thanks to the fellow prospective students who also had a lot of questions in their mind!
The session made me feel inspired and confident; not only about the master’s program in which I want to study but also about myself. Rather than just having a vague, distant dream in my head, I now feel that I can actually get the study placement I want.
The FLO event provided me some other kinds of ideas. During the day, I attended a couple of workshops. First of them handled academic writing, the second one focused on planning your CV.
At the academic writing workshop, I learned many useful tips about writing scientifically attractive yet professional language. Even though I have a lot of experience as a writer, I often stumble and feel insecure about my skills when it comes to writing academic texts.
However, now I know where I can find help for my problems, both language- and style-wise. I learned for example that the Academic Language Center that operates in Leiden arranges not only language but also academic writing courses.
The CV workshop on the other hand gave me a lot of good ideas about how to update my resume and make it attractive to Dutch employers.
I haven’t yet applied for any jobs in the Netherlands (if I don’t include my voluntary job in The Leidener!) and I had never thought that there would be such big differences in application policies between Finland and the Netherlands. For example, the cover letter appears to follow a totally different form in the Netherlands than in my home country.
I also learned that, apparently, boring Word-based CVs without any colors and fancy designs aren’t very 2017! This information will be irreplaceable when, in a couple of years, I start looking for an internship placement.
Leiden University arranges open days for both future bachelor’s and master’s students twice a year.