A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Once you get admitted as a student at Leiden University, you might feel as if the most difficult part is behind you; which in a way it is. However, one of the first challenges you’ll face as an incoming student in Leiden is the choice (or lack thereof) of accommodation. Even if initially you envisioned yourself living in the center of Leiden (as have I), not all is lost if you fail to find a central place. In fact, I feel lucky to have been living in Leiden southern suburbia this past year for many reasons, but here are the highlights.
Firstly, my place is 12 minutes from the center by bicycle, which in itself guarantees a mini daily exercise even on the busiest days. More importantly it also guarantees lower rent prices. Therefore, if you have a limited budget, or value a larger space more than proximity, I highly recommend giving serious consideration to offers outside the very center.
Bakery and supermarkets
Secondly, my neighborhood includes several particular highlights. Not only are 3 different supermarkets at a walking distance, but so is an Action (which is an extremely affordable store for home décor), Polish supermarket, drugstores, several hairdressers, McDonald’s, pizza places, snack bars, and my personal favorite a Turkish bakery. Needless to say food wise there is plenty of choice at the palm of your hand, but what makes the bakery stand out for me is the price to quality ratio. I have not found another Dutch bakery comparable, and I tried plenty.
Thirdly, I live in an area which overlooks a waterway built for water traffic in the 60ies, but now is the perfect place for jogging, taking a walk, or fast-track biking to the central station avoiding the center. As if chilling by the water with some fresh snacks on a sunny day is not great enough, this path is part of a direct cycling road all the way to The Hague. If you choose to bike from Leiden to The Hague, living in the south cuts the cycling time by 30 minutes. There are several villages along the way which have unique things to visit, but also there are giant manors by the road, which threw me off guard with their beauty.
Lastly, I was lucky to end up sharing an apartment with two other amazing students doing studies other than law, in a building occupied predominantly by students. Several of our neighbors have pianos, so occasionally we enjoy live classical music while having our lunch. I have been living in a neighborhood in southern Leiden bordering Voorschoten. Before coming here this fact did not mean much to me, however living here enabled me to discover picturesque scenery, great architecture, delicious food, and amazing people I would have otherwise missed out on. Leiden suburbs offer their unique beauty, which if you have the chance to experience I recommend you to do so.