A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The period of International Leiden Leadership Programme is over for this year. I had the opportunity to be a part of this valuable experience.
When I chose Leiden University for my master studies, I was not aware that a programme of this kind would be provided beside the curricular activities. So, I reckon that sharing my reflections on the programme will further create awareness for ambitious and aspiring prospective students of Leiden University.
This programme has no exams but two not too long papers which will together constitute your final grade. You are completely free to choose the way you draft these papers. The final grade is not included in your master studies though. However, if you wish, it may still appear on your transcript as an extra-curricular course.
Am I going to be a “leader” after the programme?
Definitely yes… but in a way that your perception of leader will have changed. First of all, you will understand the term “leader” does not only mean to lead large groups. Actually, it starts with yourself and for yourself. For me, the programme is mainly inspired by the idea of “first know and trust on yourself, then reach the outer world.” It is also a surprisingly good side of the programme that it does not impose you anything. Depending on the way of your own reflection you can extract the maximum benefit for your own development.
The programme helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in the beginning through assessments in order to raise your awareness of what the current situation of your assets is. You’ll see how to further develop them in a way to have more sustainable interpersonal relationships both in your career and personal social life. You will go through countless trainings, seminars and opportunities to put all the insights you will have gained into practice. During all this process, being surrounded with other ambitious master students in a class of 25 people gives you the chance to exchange views and thoughts even on the most delicate issues. I enjoyed all the discussions with my classmates at breaks and dinners which also equipped me with different perspectives on several topics.
Second of all, you will understand that there is not a particular type of leadership model which fits every sort of situation. You will learn what kind of leadership styles exist and how to blend them with your tendencies and capabilities while interpreting the necessities of any particular situation. I present you here a couple of general insights but there are many other countless concepts and methods about leadership that you will be acquainted with during the programme.
The staff of the programme is extremely friendly and always helpful. There is also a coaching system throughout the programme. For instance, my coach was an amazing and inspirational lady, I learned a lot from her both about development in personal life and career prospects.
Personally, what I liked most about the programme is that it clearly showed us that every single person is capable of being a “leader” as long as s/he knows how to explore her/his capabilities. This programme taught us how to do so. It also increased our self-awareness while leading us to sensitivity about our own talents and needs as well as about those of others. Now I believe that the ones who have these skills and abilities can improve and strengthen their own and their team’s success.
Besides extreme personal development, during one semester, we gained valuable friendships and had the opportunity to know many people from different cultures and different educational backgrounds. As an extra, we always used the monumental building of Old Observatory wherein we also had delicious dinners in the evenings of seminars and trainings. Moreover, you will be a part of Leiden Honours Academy family which is full of nice people and events.
Lastly, I have to put that it is a challenging programme but totally worth it!
My final humble suggestion: Do plan to participate in ILLP next year!