A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Whether you are applying for a bachelor or master’s degree, the programme you choose becomes a part of you for the rest of your life and plays a crucial role in your future. Making such an important and fundamental decision can be quite stressful. Today, I would like to share you the main factors which played a role in my decision in choosing my current programme, Advanced LLM in European and International Business Law, hoping to give you an idea of what you should consider.
1. Welcoming Country
The Netherlands is the country with most English programmes in Europe, after the UK. I believe even this says something about how global the country is. There are many international firms based or operating in the Netherlands. Even though it is highly recommended to learn Dutch, you can very well handle everything in English as almost all Dutchies have enough command in English to communicate.
2. Ranking of Law School
Besides Leiden University being a high-ranked university itself, which played a crucial role in my choice, was the high rankings of the Law Faculty. Considering many criteria from the number of students to academic research, these rankings are a good indication of what to expect. So, don’t only search the rankings of the University but search the rankings for the specific faculty to have a better idea.
3. Programme Content
A master’s degree is supposed to help you specialize in a specific area. It is directly linked to which area you want to work in the future and will have a determinative effect. Therefore, before applying to a programme, make sure that you review its content and its career prospects. For example, I was also admitted to another programme in Leiden University; Advanced LLM in International Civil and Commercial Law. I compared two programmes and decided the content of my current programme suits me the best.
Ask yourself: How will this programme will contribute to my career plans? Do I want to work in this area? Where the alumna of this programme work? Do I want to work where they do?
I was lucky enough to know a couple of people, even as acquaintances who graduated from my program so I could have an idea via talking to them. First, check whether you know someone completed your programme personally or someone who knows someone who did. You couldn’t find anyone? Well, friendly stalking might be useful. Search the program you are considering and try to find some alumni. It might feel weird to contact people you don’t really know at first but believe me most people are quite happy and willing to share their insights, as long as you are kind.
5. My Best Friend
The most personal reason is my list is that I already had a Dutch best friend living in the Netherlands by the time I was applying. We met in Munich during our Erasmus year and kept in touch for 3 years after that. It was one of the biggest factors I considered while applying as it felt like already having a close friend in a new country means starting 1 point ahead. But I assure you, no matter how hard it looks to start a new social circle from the scratch, it will all work out once you start your studies.
Please note it is a highly individual specific process and you should decide what is more important for yourself. Do your research, ask people who have already been on this path and decide. Any other aspect you think is important? Let me know in the comments!