A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
In the second part of this article, well look at The Hague and the small towns surrounding Leiden.
Just a 10-minute train ride from Leiden, you can find yourself in the city of peace and justice. The Hague is Leiden University’s secondary location, with about 3500 students taking classes here every year. Wijnhaven is probably my favourite campus to study at: It has a lot of different study spaces (which are all equipped with sockets) and the supermarket is right on the corner. Also, the interior has a nice design and there is a new student centre with a gym just across the street!
Outside of class, you can take part in one of the many activities organized by the international study associations (e.g. CIROS or BASIS). They offer everything from extra-lectures, surf lessons or club nights! Even though it’s bigger than Leiden, it’s still easy to get around by bike or tram – you can be at the beach in 20 minutes! The beach in Scheveningen has a lot of cute pavilions, where you can enjoy your snack while gazing at the sea.
Compared to Leiden, The Hague feels more multicultural and, as an international student, it’s easier to find a part-time job. Finding a place to live can also be a bit easier, as the rent is not as high off centre. If you are studying in Leiden though, it can be a hassle to commute, especially in the winter.
There are a lot of small towns surrounding Leiden, that are just a bike ride away. I myself am living in Voorschoten right now, a quiet town between Leiden and The Hague. The major advantage of living outside of Leiden is that rent prices are a bit lower and the quality of the place you’re renting is a bit higher.
You can still bike to Leiden (ca. 30 min), which is really nice on sunny days. If the weather is not that great, there are frequent trains and busses (one every 15 minutes), which is a blessing in winter.
I really enjoyed living here, as it’s quaint and you’re surrounded by lakes, canals and fields (not tulips though). So if you don’t mind a daily commute, you should definitely consider the immediate environment when looking for a place. On the downside, it is unlikely that other students will live nearby, and public transportation is scarce after midnight – you might have to crash at a friend’s place if you miss the last train.
Overall, Zuid-Holland is a great place to live in. There are lots of things to do, commuting between cities is super easy and the next supermarket is never far. From personal experience, I advise picking the city you are studying in, because you’ll have your friends nearby and you can drop by anytime you want.
Also, you don’t have to carry around all your stuff for the day (study materials, gym stuff, food etc.). But location is not everything: Make sure you feel comfortable with the place you’re renting! Some of my friends were really unhappy with their accommodation and it greatly impacted their overall experience. In that case, it’s better to continue your quest for a student room – even though it’s stressful.
What do you think? Where are you going to live? Let us know in the comments 🙂