A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Wrapping up your stay in Leiden pt. II
The time has come. You have finished your studies and are now preparing to start a new chapter. Perhaps, you will continue to live in Leiden. For many international students, however, concluding their study programme is synonymous to moving away. In the last blog, we briefly talked about the administrative to-do list of leaving the Netherlands. But let’s get to the really tough part: emotionally concluding your time in Leiden.
First of all: Even if you are leaving, it doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye forever. You’ll be able to visit the Netherlands, keep in touch with your friends via the internet (bless Skype and WhatsApp) and reunite in person all across the world (ok, maybe after the pandemic). Nevertheless, goodbyes can be hard and we’re all in exceptionally uncertain times anyway, so cut yourself some slack.
Let’s start with the most important thing: the people you met and grew to love. Friends from your student years are a precious gift and it can be scary to go from seeing each other almost every day to living in different countries (or even continents). In my opinion, there is no better way to say goodbye (temporarily!) than to celebrate your friendship. What are the things you would usually do together? Are you a brunch gang, always going out or is it something else entirely? Whatever it is, I recommend doing exactly that! It’s a great way to reminiscence, plus you can never go wrong with a classic.
Another thing you can do to ease the parting-blues is to make lots of plans (honestly, that’s definitely my coping mechanism). Who is going to come visit first? Or are you going to go on a trip together? Where would that be? Who would you invite? Knowing roughly when you are going to see each other again gives you something to look forward to, and that’s a treat you should allow yourself!
How do you say farewell to a country? Honestly, in my experience, it is quite similar to saying goodbye to friends. You think about what made you the happiest: Was it a special place, a certain activity or maybe some food? (For me it was the beach, reading next to a canal and eating poffertjes)
It’s great to do all of these things anyway, but they are even more fun now because you really, really appreciate them. Even though it’s a cliché, I got to say that the grass is greener, the sun warmer and the air fresher in these moments.
Another way to celebrate your time in the Netherlands is to look at your NL-bucket list. Is there something you wanted to do but haven’t yet? Whether it was a city you wanted to visit, a museum to go to or a restaurant you wanted to try, now is the perfect time to finally do it: You have no university obligations, the weather is great and there is no shortage of motivation (after all, this might be a now-or-never situation). Finishing your bucket list can offer a certain type of closure, and some novelty is definitely not bad after we had weeks of lockdown.
Do you have any advice you want to share? Was it difficult to leave, or were you more excited about the next chapter? We would love to hear your stories in the comments!