A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
So you are on your way to Leiden (or thinking about studying here or just curious about what it is like) and I am writing about how to get away from Leiden, not necessarily what you are expecting from this blog, right? But hold on, it all makes sense. I promise.
There are two main reasons: You get to know other (graduate) students and talk to professors you might not have met otherwise and there are topics that might not be covered by the curriculum in Leiden. I went to a program on the Ethics of Neural Protheses a few weeks back. Neither Ethics of Technology nor Neural Prosthetics are taught in depth at Leiden University. A summer school can fill gaps in your curriculum and is a great way to expand your network.
Watch out, application deadlines and requirements can vary a lot. From uploading a CV to submitting two reference letters and research proposals. The same goes for for the deadlines. Some programs accept applications until just before the start of the course and others close their application forms six months before. My strategy is googling every few months and check for new summer schools. The first dates get published in November/December. Maybe there is website for your research area where institutions post their workshops, that makes your life much easier. For my area, the Bernstein Centre in Germany is a good resource. Twitter accounts of key researchers and institutions are also a good way to find out about upcoming courses.
Check this website for a good overview and excellent search options: www.summerschoolineurope.eu
One word about reference letters. Luckily, teaching staff in Leiden (I guess at other Dutch universities too) are extremely approachable. Do not shy away from asking your professors for a short letter. Some will ask you to pass by for a quick chat, others will email you their letter within a few days. Just make sure you ask early enough!
Just as with the application procedures: fees vary a lot. I found anything from 3500 Euro for a 3-week neuroscience lab course in Spain to (almost) free workshops. You can search by fee on Summerschoolsineurope.eu.
Good luck finding a summer school at one of the many universities across Europe!