A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Student Associations

As a new student to the Netherlands, getting involved in your university is a top priority. It’s an avenue for friendships, engaging in your hobbies and can always be useful on a CV. At Leiden University there are a diverse range of ways for one to get involved. However, the choices can often be overwhelming. Thus, I have created a little outline of places to get involved in the Hague.



CIROS is the “Community for International Relations and Organizations Students”. It is a fairly recent student association that was created by students. Its aim is to connect students studying International Relations and Organizations in the Hague. The group organizes a range of academic and non-academic events and can be a very useful avenue to make friends, find out about the university and engage in passion projects. More information can be found at


SPIL has been active since 1988. It is a study association that comprises of many different committees which are involved in different spheres such as the magazine or foreign affairs. As a member you are able to get study-related book discounts and engage in a wide range of academic and non-academic events. It can also allow you to make friends and engage in passion projects. More information can be found at


BASIS is the organization for “Bachelor Students of International Studies”. It is a study association comprised of all years of International Studies students. It was created by students for students. The goals of BASIS are to further academic knowledge about the course and to create cohesion among the members of the association. The organization runs a variety of activities, both social and academic. It can help with making friends and finding out more about the course. More information can be found at




BIL is the “Bestuurskundige Interfacultaire vereniging van Leiden” which means the

Public Administration Interfaculty Association of Leiden. The organization is created for student of Public Administration studying at Leiden. The organization was created in 1984 and involves both formal and informal events. However, these events are predominantly in Dutch. More information can be found at

Leiden United

This student association aims to bring together both Dutch and international students. Its aim is to allows students to meet other students from different countries and cultures. Thus, it is a great opportunity to make friends. Every semester Leiden United organizes drinks, dinners, and social activities as a part of their integrative plan. More information can be found at

Leiden MUN

Leiden MUN is part of the global Model United Nations programme. It is a student led organization that is independent from any specific university. Every year a new group of student are selected and trained to participate in conferences around the world. It allows student to improve their debating, lobbying, and public speaking skills and can be very valuable on a CV. It is also a great place to make friends and pursue passions of discussion and debate. More information can be found at

Leiden Debating Union

The Leiden Debating Union is a forum where students can engage in their passion for debate or learn new skills. It was started as a cooperation between international students who debated back home and the debating clubs of the big student societies of Leiden. The union helps people improve their debating skills by organizing workshops, trainings and regular debate evenings. The members are also able to travel to debate tournaments all around the world. This is not only an organization for debate but a place to meet lots of new people. More information can be found at


Amnesty International Student Group the Hague

This group is a part of the larger Amnesty International organization. As an Amnesty Student Group member you have the chance to take action for Human Rights, meet other like-minded students and build up your network, organize movie screenings, lectures, demonstrations and much more. As well as meeting human rights activists. There are also options to go on camps in different parts of the world to engage in human rights protection. In this organization, one can become a member of a committee who are actively involved in organizing events or a general member who participates in the events. More information can be found at


AIESEC is a global network of people that  believe that youth leadership is the world’s responsibility. It is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The organization facilitates events that allow for leadership development experience all over the world. It offers both voluntary projects and internships. It is a good forum for meeting new people, developing oneself and following your passion. More information can be found at


EUSA is “The European Union Student Association” of Leiden University. Its goal it to bring together students who have an interest in the EU and wish to discuss its issues. The association aims to increase the interest and knowledge on the EU, through debate and critical thinking. The association is open for every Leiden University Student, no matter their study programme or nationality. It is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and engage in your interests of the EU. More information can be found at

Whether it’s an avenue for friendships, a way to engage in your hobbies or something to put on your CV, there are a wide range of opportunities for involvement at Leiden University. Luckily, you can apply for as many of these organizations as you desire.


Notes: all photographs are from the respective organization’s websites.

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This entry was posted on November 28, 2020 by in Leiden, Living in Holland, Practical Stuff, Student City, Student Life, Study.

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