A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
It is eleven pm, my eyes are definitely working against me and I am sitting at home with my statistics textbook unopened lying next to me. I should be studying for the exam that is taking place in two days but as is widely known – there is nothing sweeter in the exam period than not studying. So here I am giving you a heads up about some things you should know when you are one of the lucky ones to come to Leiden to study the International Bachelor in Psychology
1. The beginning is going to be hard. I think no one and nothing had quite prepared me for what it was like coming to Leiden and being thrown into weekly tests that literally started in the first week of uni, obligatory workgroups, graded homework assignments, and approximately 27361274 pages to read. So, if you know what’s coming for you it might not catch you by surprise. And it becomes easier after a while!
2. Psychology is not just “learning how to read other peoples minds” and wishful thinking of the like. A psychology bachelor contains a lot of statistics, especially the program in Leiden, as the Uni so proudly calls this a study course “with a focus on research”. But don’t let this turn you off, psychological statistics is actually really interesting, you learn how researches collect their data and come to their conclusions which help us understand the human psyche after all! But you should know this before you decide to study psychology.
3. IBP is full of Germans. Well… what can I say, it’s just the truth. I even faintly remember some of my non-German friends say at the beginning of the studies that they might be better off learning the German language instead of the Dutch one. 😉
4. …but it’s not only Germans, of course. IBP is a great course to meet people from all over the world and in the workgroups, you can immerse yourself in discussions with people who grew up in completely different cultures than you. Which is extremely valuable, especially for a subject like psychology.
5. Last but not least, IBP is full of open-minded, friendly, and (most) importantly, international students. It’s impossible not to make amazing friends straight away. However, I would strongly recommend you to see beyond the end of your nose and at least try to learn Dutch, to mingle with Dutch people as well as with your friends from your programme, because the Dutch student culture has a life of its own, one that you really wouldn’t want to miss out. Especially in a city like Leiden. Trust me, Dutch students take their “gezelligheid” very seriously and it’s a lot of fun being part of it.