A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The Master Programme in International Relations at the University of Leiden offers different specializations to students who want to pursue their studies in the city of Rembrandt. I applied for the EU Studies programme last year and joined the master in September. In this article I will outline 5 reasons why you should consider applying to this specific track.
1) The European Union is super important today. Many aspects of our daily lives directly or indirectly depend on the decisions taken at the supranational level, in the halls and meeting rooms of EU institutions. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the other institutions have considerable power; it is therefore important for concerned citizens to understand how they work and be able to explain the political processes that unfold in our continent.
2) The teachers encourage students to have a critical eye. The European Union is a wonderful accomplishment, yet several of its policies or founding features have come under heavy criticism from many directions. The teachers do not feed the students with aseptic information and pro-EU publicity but encourage critical thinking and open-mindedness. The personal points of view are taken into great consideration.
3) The EU institutions are close to Leiden. It only takes a few hours to reach Brussels, where most of EU institutions are headquartered. The programme contemplates a three-days trip to the European capital to visit the EU institutions and meet the alumni working there or in other organizations. This is also an opportunity for the students to get to know each other and visit a new city together.
4) The program is multidisciplinary. You will look at the European Union from different perspectives: historical, legal, political and economical. Many students fear the economics exam, but this will prove to be crucial to understand the current crisis affecting the continent and the policies adopted to solve it. Moreover, the teachers will be available if necessary to help you grasp the concepts outside of class hours.
5) There are many job opportunities. Beside the European capital, the near Den Haag hosts a great number of international organizations including the EU law enforcement agency Europol. The University is well connected to the job market and the multitude of experts invited to give speeches for the compulsory seminars are often high-level officials working for the EU institutions who can give you insightful suggestions.
Do you have in mind other reasons? Let me know in the comments!