The Leidener

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Meet the Leideners


Age: 21
Programme/Course: MA North American Studies
Hometown: Middlesbrough, England
In Leiden since: July 2017
Previous Education: BA English and American Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London
Favorite Dutch food: Gevulde Koeken
Favorite Dutch place: de Burcht in Leiden and Zierikzee in Zeeland

I graduated from Goldsmiths in July 2016, and just a week later moved to Leiden to start my Masters in American Studies. This was a huge change from living in the bustling metropolis of London for 3 years, but a very welcome change nonetheless! Leiden also seemed the ideal place to study America, considering it was the place the Pilgrims first took residence from England before setting off for America. So far it’s been great meeting a host of other international students from around the world (including many others from the UK) and I look forward to documenting my time here through writing for The Leidener.



Age: 24

Programme/Course: LLM Public International Law

Hometown: London, UK/ Bosaso, Somalia

In Leiden since:  August 2017

Previous education: Bachelor of Laws at Coventry University London (UK) and Political Science at the California State University, Long Beach (USA)

Favourite Dutch food: Boterham met pindakaas en hageslag

Favourite Dutch place: Most of the museums in the Netherlands (especially the Escher Museum, Den Haag).


Hallo readers! My name is Aisha, originally from Somalia but I’ve lived most of my entire life in London! I am currently doing my master’s degree here at Leiden. I love writing, reading, languages, hiking and more or less exploring the world! I just need to somehow make it to Australia and Antartica (not sure if I’ll ever be fit for this one), then I will have officially been to every continent 😎  Through this blog I will try and share some of my tips, advice and an overview of my Dutch journey for some prospective students!



Age: 22

Programme/Course: MA Archival Studies

Hometown: Forden, Wales

In Leiden since: July 2017

Previous education: BA Ancient History at Swansea University

Favourite dutch food: Oliebollen with lots of poedersuiker!

Favourite dutch place: Efteling theme park

Hoi! I’m Alex, and I’m currently studying MA Archival Studies here at Leiden University and interning at an archive in the Hague. I’ve lived in all kinds of places but most recently London and Swansea, UK. I chose to come to Leiden not only for the great course on offer but also because I lived here for 6 years as a child! So I guess this is kind of like a homecoming tour for me. I’ve really enjoyed the experience of seeing all of the old places I knew as a child, plus discovering lots of new places too, especially the Leiden market (possibly my favourite place in Leiden). So far it’s been an amazing, eye-opening experience, and I look forward to sharing it with you!



Age: 20
Programme/Course: International Bachelor in Psychology
Hometown: Hamburg and a small village by the Baltic Sea
In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2016
Previous education: German High School, Abitur 2015
Favourite Dutch food: Pepernoten
Favourite Dutch place: Leiden, of course!



Age: 22

Programme/Course: International Studies

Hometown: Kleinmachnow, a town at the border of Berlin

In Leiden/The Hague since: September 2017

Previous education: German Gymnasium

Favourite Dutch food: Patatje Oorlog

Favourite Dutch place: Vondelpark in Amsterdam


Hey there, I am Ariane. I was born in Germany and lived there for my entire life, except for a voluntary service in Spain. Roughly one year and a half ago, I came to the Netherlands to study International Studies in The Hague. As I really enjoy living in countries that are not my home country, I have a lot to share about getting used to new places and exploring them. I have always been interested in see

ing how I can adapt to new and stranger settings, which I also plan to keep on doing in the future. For now, I am concentrating on finishing my Bachelor’s degree and find a suitable Master’s to continue with. Until then I hope I can delight you with insights or anecdotes from my little daily life here in The Hague or surroundings. Groetjes! Ariane



Programme/Course: MA Philosophy of Humanities

Hometown: Brisbane, Australia

In Leiden/The Hague since: September 2015

Previous education: BA Art History

Favourite Dutch food: Poffertjes

Favourite Dutch place: Friesland

Hallo! I’m Cameron, and I’m studying an MA in Philosophy at Leiden. I have lived and studied in the city for about a year. Leiden University was recommended to me on the reputation of the academics, and after looking into the study programmes here I had a sort of gut feeling that this would a great place to be. It has been fantastic. Leiden itself is a really welcoming place, and the Netherlands as a whole are interesting, strange and beautiful. There are so many cultures coming together in the academic and social environment that you are always stimulated and inspired. I look forward to sharing some experiences with you here!


Age: 30Daniela

Course: Master in Clinical Neuropsychology and Master in Statistical Science for the Life and Behavioral Sciences

Hometown: Villingen im Schwarzwald, Germany

In Leiden:  since June 2013

Previous Studies:  International Bachelor in Psychology at Leiden University

Favourite Dutch food: Fries at the Saturday Market

Favourite place: the beach, the dunes between Katwijk and Scheveningen, the Saturday Market

Hi, I am Daniela and I have been living in Leiden for more than 2 years. I came here to study Psychology in the then brand new International Bachelor in Psychology. It turns out that my plan to study Neuroscience for my Master was replaced by Clinical Neuropsychology and Statistical Sciences. In Clinical Neuropsychology I learn about treatments and diagnostics of behavioral problems after neurological disease or accidents. Pretty medical stuff and I never thought that talking to patients would be something I want to do before I tried it during an internship. Well and what about Stats? Stats is fun. And pretty useful if you want to understand and do clinical research yourself. I’ll be blogging about Psychology, my thesis work and life at the Maths faculty. And about what I like so much about the Netherlands: summer, beach, sun, tulip fields, drinks on boats and terraces.




Age: 22

Programme/Course: Research Master in Developmental Psychology
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

In Leiden since: August 2016

Previous education: BA in Psychology – Koç University

Favourite Dutch food: Poffertjes <3

Favourite Dutch place: Marken






Age: 19

Programme: IBP – International Bachelor’s in Psychology

Hometown: Grew up in Qatar, so although I’m not from there, that’s what feels like my hometown.

In Leiden since last year, August.

Previous education: Sixth form in Qatar at the British Embassy college.

Favorite Dutch food: Poffertjes & Goudse Kaas!

Favorite Dutch place: Love Leiden, The Hague & Rotterdam


mia-the-leidenerAge: 21

Programme/Course: International Studies & Psychology

Hometown: Linz, Austria

In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2015

Previous education: HTL (Engineering School)

Favourite Dutch food: Frituur

Favourite Dutch place: Leiden





Age: 21

Programme/Course: MSc Economic and Consumer Psychology

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia

In Leiden since: July 2017

Previous education: BSc Psychology at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Favourite Dutch food: Rundvleeskroket and poffertjes (with loads of icing sugar and butter!)

Favourite Dutch place: Rotterdam

Hello readers!  My name is Nadya.  I’m originally from Indonesia but I’ve been living in the Netherlands for three years for my studies.  Ik spreek een beetje Nederlands, in case you’re wondering.  Being a Psychology student, the realm of human psyche is my main interest as you can probably tell.  However, I’m totally into discussing anything regardless, from arts and music to behavioural economics – you name it!  A lot of poeple have asked me why I had to be 14000 kilomoters away for something that can be gotten in my home country.  I’d say that studying abroad in the Dutch university has taught me how to complete all demands efficiently in its fast-paced environment, while maintaining myself to still be able to explore things beyond that.  Browse through my entries on The Leidener to hear more of my thoughts, experiences, tips and tricks regarding living, studying and traveling in the Netherlands.  Oh, and check out my personal blog! Just as I enjoy writing, I hope you enjoy reading it!


Age: 25

Programme/Course: Russian and Eurasian Studies

Hometown: Matlock, UK

In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2017

Previous education: BA Modern Languages (French, Russian and Spanish) – The University of Sheffield, UK

Favourite Dutch food: Stroopwaffels

Favourite Dutch place: Leiden!

My name is Sarah and I moved to Leiden at the end of August 2017. I’m currently studying an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies, having been inspired by a year in Uzbekistan to study the Central Asian region further. Last year I was living and working in London, but I’m originally from a town in Derbyshire in the UK that is even smaller than Leiden. I hope to blog document the challenges of learning Dutch (and other languages!), trips to other parts of the country and any unusual adventures.


Age: 24

Programme/Course: MA in Literary Studies

Hometown:  Tokyo

In Leiden since:  September 2017

Favourite Dutch food:  Kroketten

Favourite Dutch place: Leiden!

Hi! I’m Scottish/Japanese and live with two feline companions. Living in the Netherlands means travelling to other European countries is extremely easy and inexpensive. I recently visited Iceland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Italy. Along with my studies I translate prose and poetry for Tokyo Poetry Journal.


sarah-louise-todd-leidenerAge: 25

Programme/Course: South & Southeast Asian Studies

Hometown: Perth, Western Australia

In Leiden/The Hague since: 2010-2011 Academic Year

Previous education: Leiden University College The Hague and the University of Western Australia

Favourite Dutch food: Gevulde speculaas

Favourite Dutch place: Japanese Garden (Japanese Tuin), Clingendael, The Hague

I am Sarah-Louise. I study South & Southeast Asian Studies, minoring in Hindi (नमस्ते), at the Faculty of Humanities. In my spare time, I sing along to my mediocre ukulele strumming, take photos with my Samsung NX500 (embarrassingly, mostly of cats) and fanaticise about adventures in foreign lands.

Having attended Leiden University for quite a while, I’m here to help with any issues ranging from studying with a chronic condition to finding the best falafel in town.

I embarked on my Leiden University journey at Campus The Hague, back in August 2010. In doing so, I challenged myself by leaving behind my support network in Australia (G’day) and starting a-fresh in the Netherlands (Hallo). I’m glad that I did, in spite of the unconventional twists and turns life has taken since. Because…This is all part of the adventure, right?

Fast forward to today, and you’ll find me happily attending weekly classes–feel free to say hello if you do see me–at Vrieshof, Lipsuis and the like, whilst also still enjoying life as a resident of The Hague.




Programme/Course: Research Masters in Human Origins

Hometown: Rural South Wales

In Leiden since: August 2017

Previous education: Bsc in Bioarchaeology at the University of York

My favourite Dutch food would be a hard choice between Tony’s Chocolate (salted caramel!) and the cheese samples from the Saturday market

Favourite Dutch place: The small cobbled streets around Breestraat, and the Botanical Gardens are both beautiful places to wander around for an afternoon.

Hi there! I’m Sophie, a Danish-Welsh student who’s still fairly fresh to Leiden. I moved here after completing my bachelors in York, UK and I’m now working on a research masters in the Archaeology faculty. I moved to Leiden having never even visited the city (My only foray to the Netherlands was a weekend trip to Amsterdam to play hockey!), however after a few months here I feel like I’ve really found my place in the city. I hope my blog posts help other students find their way around the city and to find the events and places that make Leiden so special. I’ll be blogging about finding the lovely cosy spots that Leiden is so wonderful for, as well as how to navigate academia and the Netherlands as a student with a disability, and the challenges and victories of finding queer spaces abroad!



SepidehAge: 27

Programme/Course: Psychology (English)

Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany

In Leiden since: September 2013

Previous education: BA in English Literature & Culture from the University of Bonn, Germany

Favourite Dutch food: Chocomel

Favourite Dutch place: every single canal!

My name is Sepi and I’m Iranian-German. One of the best things that I learned, while living in Leiden, is appreciation for the little things such as taking a walk along the canal and experiencing the calming effect of water. In my free time I like to sit by the docks, think about my pug Coco, oreo cookies, psychology & society…oh, and the brain isn’t too bad of a subject either! Since I grew up in-between cultures, I’d like to impart some of my knowledge, ideas and experiences with you guys and shed light on the challenges and opportunities of living abroad as an international. My mantra is: let’s focus on the solution, not the problem 🙂



Past Leideners…

Aakanksha (Aku)

IMG_7209Age: 22
Course: International Studies
Hometown: Bangalore, India
In The Hague: Since August 2012

Favourite place in Holland: Amsterdam (more specifically the Rijks Museum)

Favourite Dutch food: Stroopwaffles 🙂

Namaste! I’m Aakanksha or Aku as they call me around here. I’m studying International Studies at Leiden University in The Hague. I’m specializing in South and South East Asia and learning Urdu. I took a gap year where I did an internship for six months at Habitat for Humanity and travelled around Europe and North America. I was originally supposed to study in Canada but Holland just happened and I can say I’m not disappointed! I love naps, food, traveling, and watching movies. OH AND DOGS! Aren’t they the cutest?
I’m on the board for my student organization (B.A.S.I.S) for my study. I also am part of a dinner club, where we meet once a week, take turns cooking and try all kinds of cuisine. I can safely say my friends here are my international family, who have taught me so much.


Londres plageAge: 24

Course: MA International Relations (International Studies)
Hometown: Bradford, United Kingdom
In Leiden: since September 2013
Previous studies: UCL, London (2007-2011), Université Paris Sorbonne – Paris IV (2009-2011)

Originally reading French at University College London, I spent two happy years teaching in the English department at the Sorbonne University in Paris after graduation. I then, however, decided that I wanted to go back to being on the other side of the dais and broaden my horizons, having spent the past few years coupling my days job with various language-learning endeavours and extensive travel. One of said language-learning projects was teaching myself Dutch and my love of the Low Countries and all things Netherlandish led me to Leiden, where I found my perfect masters programme. The International Relations course at Leiden was one of the few I could find (anywhere) that encouraged people from non-IR backgrounds to apply and being now in classes with people from a multitude of previous disciplines, I’m really enjoying the course and the different insights people have on the issues we examine. I’m also loving my new life in Leiden on which I’ll try to keep you up to speed!


Age 24

Hometown: Bath, UK
Course: MA Ancient History
A Leidener: September 2011-May 2013
Previous Universities: University of Southampton 2007-2008, Cardiff University 2008-2011

Since my somewhat unfulfilled gap year in 2006 I have desperately wanted to escape from Britain and live a Continental life. I loved my course in ancient history at Cardiff and couldn’t bear the idea of finishing my studies so off I went to study a masters degree at Leiden University. People warned me not to expect too much of Leiden, for fear that I would be disappointed, but how wrong they were. Obviously there have been a few shaky moments, such as my first few days here before my accommodation was ready and I was staying in a hostel in Amsterdam with some very rude Australians. On arrival I joined the LEF theatre society and now have a lovely group of theatrical friends, both Dutch and international. I am most often to be spotted at my local watering hole, Twee Spieghels, sipping Baileys and looking pretentious, scribbling in my notepad at the bar.

Anna Frederike

anna frederikeAge: 27

Course: ResMA Literary Studies
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
In Leiden: since August 2012
Previous Studies: University Hamburg (2007-2012), Leiden University (Erasmus 2010)

The first time I came to Leiden as an Erasmus exchange student in 2010. Until the day I applied I had no idea of the existence of this little dreamlike city. I fell in love right away, and after I finished my Bachelor in Hamburg, applying for the Masters here was the only way to go! And the right one – I enjoy my studies a lot (sometimes even though and sometimes because I hardly ever get my nose out of books anymore), I met so many interesting new people again, and I still love crossing the bridges of the canals at night in the magic light of the orange street lamps…

Now I’m already in my second year and have the urge to capture more of my Leiden life again, in words and images, because time slips away way too fast! Even though I know the city quite well by now, it doesn’t stop surprising me. There is always something new to discover, and I am excited to share my experiences and love for Leiden in a blog!

 Anna River

annamia Age: 26

Course: BA International Studies
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  – Sylvia Plath

I was born and raised in East Germany. After finishing high school I moved to Berlin and decided to simply get by as a full time singer/songwriter, traveled, shared my songs with other people, and tried to figure out what else I could do with my life. I knew I wanted to write and that I wanted to see the world, so I eventually moved to New York to study Journalism. That turned out to be quite a ride — it helped me a lot to find out who I am and what I was able to accomplish, if I just pushed myself enough to achieve my goals. The course helped me explore new sides of myself and fostered my affinity for international policy making and foreign relations — and I realized that I wanted to actively change the world. While living in Amsterdam for a few months last winter, I found out about the new BA International Studies program at Leiden University – and here I am. So far, this move has been a promising one  — after all, I’m not much of a big city girl, and The Hague has that small town feel I’ve been longing for. But it also has quite some great cultural things to offer, which I hope to be writing about in the near future.
I am a writer, singer, musician, photographer and maker of things. I am currently working on my first novel, enjoy yoga, crocheting, cooking, baking and gezellige evenings with new friends in cozy places. I also own a rocket cat and am very fond of purple things. I maintain a personal blog on which I reflect on my travels, thoughts and the continuous search for home. Say hi sometime!


anuAge: 28

Programme/Course: International Bachelor in Psychology

Hometown: Ranua, Finland

In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2015

Previous education: Bachelor of Arts (Journalism)

Favourite Dutch food: Poffertjes and all kinds of cheeses

Favourite Dutch place: Beach in Katwijk,and in Leiden, Cronesteyn park

I am Anu, a 28-year-old Finnish journalist who moved to the Netherlands to study psychology. Originally, I come from Finnish Lapland, where the winters are long, dark, and freezing. Therefore, you probably won’t hear me complaining about the Dutch weather!

For me, writing is the best way of self-expression, and when I was still only dreaming about studying at Leiden University, I found The Leidener very useful in learning more about the university, Leiden, and the whole country. Therefore, I was eager to join the blogger crew, and here I am!

I did not know much about the Netherlands before moving here, but luckily, I soon noticed that this country is definitely my place. I love especially the short distances, beautiful old towns, bicycling, laid-back people, cats that are everywhere, and of course springtime with all the tulips and other flowers. After graduation, I wish to stay and find a job in the Netherlands, and hence, I study Dutch on my sparetime.

I hope you enjoy my posts!


ChristaAge: 29
Programme/Course: Economic and Consumer Psychology Masters Program
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
In Leiden/The Hague since: August 2015
Previous education: Bachelor in Psychology, Atma Jaya Catholic University Jakarta
Favourite Dutch food: stroopwaffels, rookworst, poffertjes
Favourite Dutch place: Van der Werff Park and Burcht van Leiden (Leiden), Japanse Tuin (Den Haag)

Hallo! I’m Christa, a multilingual-wannabe and former corporate recruiter who got hooked to marketing. That new-found passion is what drove me to take that 15-hour flight from Indonesia to The Netherlands. Love can make you do crazy things, right? Other guilty pleasures in my life include matcha latte, Friends’ reruns, Korean variety shows, Tony Bennet songs, and boybands. I’m directionally-challenged and yet a wanderlust by heart. I’m here to share my journeys and all its random goodness. Hopefully those entries will inspire you to take a journey of your own and enjoy life in Leiden as it unfolds.


CrystalAge: 24
Course: MA in Asian Studies
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
In Leiden: since January 2015

Favourite Dutch Food:  Brown bread with ham and cheese, and a stroopwafel with hot koffie verkeerd (coffee the wrong way!)

Favourite Dutch Place: Utrecht (city), Tropenmuseum and Verzetsmuseum (museums)

Previous studies:  History in Universitas Indonesia (2009-2013)

Hello!  My name is Crystal and I am now pursuing a Master’s in Asian Studies with a concentration in the History, Arts and Culture of Asia.  You can easily spot me among hundreds of Leiden students, I’m that Asian girl who is daring enough to dye part of her hair blue.  I love talking about history, especially about Chinese migration and Chinese diaspora, but I am also a pop culture geek at heart.  I also love traveling and hiking A LOT.  You can see me daily in the library, studying for my thesis, or sipping hot coffee in Den Haag’s hipster coffee bars.

Beatriz (Bia)

materdeiAge: 24

Course: MSc. International Relations and Diplomacy
Hometown: São José dos Campos/ SP- Brazil
In Leiden: Since August 2012
Previous studies: Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado- São Paulo, Brazil

After finishing my undergraduate studies in Brazil and working in the private insurances world for a year I decided it was time to leave my confort zone and come to the Netherlands for my Masters. I must confess that life in Leiden is much easier than my old one in a 18 million inhabitants city and that allows me to appreciate the small pleasures that Leiden offers. I am now in the hunt for the best warme chocolademelk met slagroom (hot chocolate with whipped cream) in town and I invite you to join me in this search in small cafés or big restaurants. When I am not ‘hot chocolat hunting’ you can probably find me in the library catching up with my readings, grabbing some bitterballen or kaasouflé, jogging along witte single, getting fresh veggies, fish and flowers on the Saturday Market (one of my biggest loves here) or working for ISN- International Students Network- in the Breimer Common Room by Plexus. Despite its size Leiden has a lot to offer to everyone and I am excited about finding more about the city´s hidden secrets!


BernhardAge: 26

Course: MA Language and Communication

Hometown: Saalfelden, Austria

In Leiden: since August 2014

Previous Studies: University of Innsbruck (2008-2012)

“After finishing my degree in English language and literature in Austria, I decided to move to London in order to live with some of my international friends (and our awesome cat Obama) that I made while travelling/couchsurfing through the world. After two years in the big city, I felt that it was time for a change and decided to pursue my academic career. At this point, Leiden presented the perfect place for me to decelerate my life and get my feet back on solid ground. Since I moved here, I have been loving every minute of it. A short while ago I started writing a blog about low-impact living and sustainability projects and therefore, the opportunity to write for the Leidener gave me the chance to further practice my writing and share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences that I’ve had since I moved here.

When I am not writing about life in the Netherlands, I am usually out exploring the city on my opafiets, sauntering along streets markets and small shops, sitting by a gracht or in my living room, planning my off-grid tiny house that I want to build next year.”

All the best,



ChristianLeidenerAge: 20

Programme/Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences (Global Challenges)

Hometown: Brunswick, Germany

In The Hague since August 2014

Previous education: St Leonards School in St Andrews, Scotland

Favourite Dutch food: Patat met pindasaus (French fries with peanut sauce)

Moin! My name is Christian and I’m currently studying World Politics with Journalism at the Leiden University College in the Hague. After finishing my IB in Scotland, and before coming to the Hague, I spend six months in the north-west of Argentina volunteering and travelling around. This is why I had my application interview for LUC over Skype, which was pretty exciting!

Coming to the Netherlands was definitely one of the better decisions I have made so far: for one, you have these large, international cities like the Hague where there’s always something going on. On the other side, there are loads of small, sleepy and picturesque townships where you can escape the buzz of the metropolis for a while. Just strolling along the Graacht all day with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other lets me remember that life is good (and makes me forget about that course deadline).

Through this blog, I hope I can give you guys a few insights into student life in and around the Hague. If there is anything you’d like to know, see or read about in particular, feel free to contact me!


profileAge: 18
Course: BA International Studies
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Hoi! I’m Ecesu and I’m a coffee addict (although I prefer to be called a coffee-lover). I smile often, write a lot, draw a bit (usually just sketch instead), love walking/dancing under the rain. I have a love for Italy and –almost- everything Italian. I also have an unexplainable interest in dream-catchers.

I’m from a magical city called Istanbul; a melting pot of cultures and ideas. Now? I’ve found myself a new home! A relatively smaller and different one but that’s what makes the journey interesting!

I’ve always enjoyed writing but preferred to keep it mostly to myself (and maybe a few friends). Time for university meant time for change. So I decided to open up a little and let my words be read. This is my first time writing for somewhere/someone/something which makes it really exciting for me. I will be writing stories of the past, experiences of the present and hopes and dreams of the future. Hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!




 Age : 23

Course: MSc Political Science

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

In Leiden: August 2009-May 2014

Previous Universities: Webster University, Leiden

I’m Ela, half-English, half-Turkish, born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. I moved to Holland four years ago to study International Relations. When I graduated I knew that I was in no way ready to leave this incredible, tiny little country. So I started my masters degree in Political Science at Leiden University, which seemed like a natural transition for me. I have met some incredible people along the way, and have slowly but surely assimilated into the Dutch culture (although my Dutch language skills are poor and I still find so many things to be absolutely bizarre – I mean how is peanut sauce on french fries a real thing?).

Through this blog I will attempt to share little snippets of my Dutch journey with you and hope that I can do justice to this incredibly open-minded, tolerant, vibrant and fun place I call my home away from home.



EmilyAge: 26

Hometown: Hexham, UK
Course: ResMA Area Studies
In Leiden: August 2009 – 2013
Previous Universities: School of Oriental and African Studies (2005-2009 London, UK), Kyushu University (2007-2008 Fukuoka, Japan)

After graduating in 2009, I moved to Leiden and spent 2 years teaching English and wondering what to do next. In 2011 I finally took the plunge and enrolled on a 2 year Research Master’s course at Leiden uni. My area of specialisation is Japan, so Leiden, with its excellent Japanese department, was a natural choice. I’ve loved living in Leiden so far. It’s so different to London, but walking through its cobbled streets or drinking beer on a terrace in the sun, I always feel very happy to be studying here. With one more year to go, I want to do and see as many things in Leiden and the Netherlands as I can. I love food, and I’m really into cooking, baking and trying out restaurants (on a student budget, of course!) so send any foodie recommendations this way. Oh, and see our Tumblr for more photos.




Age: 20 Hometown: Sandbach, Cheshire, United Kingdom.
Course: BA (hons) English Language and Linguistics.
When I blogged: September 2011 – June 2012
Home University: University of Edinburgh

As my final honours years approached, I decided to delay the imminent influx of study stress and up sticks from the wintry wiles of Bonnie Scotland to the windy plains of the Netherlands. In Edinburgh, I devoted my time to writing for the student newspapers, hosting a cheesy radio show for Fresh Air Radio, working for a modelling agency, running, studying and, of course, socialising. An Erasmus year abroad, however, in a city of quaint cobbled streets and a labyrinth of canals appeared to be too great an offer to overlook. Driven by the prospect of travel, meeting new people and a bounty of new experiences, I resolved to say ‘yes’ to almost every opportunity that presented itself here in the Netherlands. So if you’d like to read more about the advice, adventures and inevitable accidents, then The Leidener is your number one resource.




Age: 20

Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Course: BA English Language and Culture, Minor in Psychology
In Leiden: August 2009 –Summer 2013

While born in Berlin, most of my life and thus education took place in The Netherlands. I have long since stopped wondering about curious customs and crazy culture and embraced it. When I moved to Leiden in 2009, I signed up for one of the bigger student associations, figuring that studying German with about ten others might not result in that big of a social life. I’ve spent most of my time in Leiden so far being a part of different committees, and after switching to English, even the board of my study association. Most days I’m either studying, meeting with some committee, hanging out with my housemates or having dance practice. I’m hoping I’ll finish my BA this year, and I might just stick around for my MA.



IMAG0204 - Arbeitskopie 2

Age: 21
Course: BA International Studies
Hometown: Bremen, Germany
In Leiden/The Hague: since September 2013

Favourite Dutch food:  Poffertjes

Hoi, hoi! I am Frederike and I was born in the beautiful hansa town Bremen, in North Germany (Just in case you were wondering… yes, that is the city of Grimm´s fairytale of the “Town Musicians of Bremen”).

Superficially seen, Bremen and The Hague are very similar, both are located in the North, close to the sea, Herring is a specialty in Bremen, as well as in The Hague … the cities resemble each other at first glance. However, life shows the small but mighty differences and that is what I want to blog about! What is new, exciting, confusing for me … ?

In September 2013 my new life as a student in The Hague – the city of peace and justice – began … Reading “BA International Studies” in such a multicultural and international city is a great opportunity, and gradually I get to know the city, with all its curiosities and facets.This will be my first time, sharing my experiences with a wider audience than just my family and friends. I am very excited about the coming time as a Leidener Blogger! I will take you with me through the city, to the university and to the exciting events offered by this vivacious city. Hopefully you will enjoy! Tot Ziens!

Gemma Huett

2012-08-20 22.56.06Age: 21

Hometown: London, The United Kingdom
Study Programme: Philosophy
Living in Leiden since September 2013

Getting close to graduating in my Batchelor’s degree made me realise that I was not quite ready to settle into a fixed career; there was so much more I wanted to do first; travel, learn and philosophise! Leiden seemed to just ‘happen’ to me, I’m not sure how I decided on Leiden or The Netherlands but living in this beautiful little city has made me realise just how lucky I am to have ended up here! I worked in The Netherlands during the summer as a tour guide so my skills of navigating canal-side streets have been developed, although that’s not to say I’m not constantly lost and confused when every corner I turn I end up by a café near a canal! Since being here, when I’m not reading, I seem to spend most of my time cycling in the rain, drinking at the many cute pubs or trying to be involved in way too many of the ISN clubs! I’m so excited to learn more about The Netherlands and Dutch culture and be able to share my experiences of living abroad with you all!



Gunjan Photo Cropped

Age: 22

Course: MSc. Research in Astronomy

Hometown: Delhi, India

In Leiden:  since August 2014

Previous studies: Bachelors (Honours) in Physics, University of Delhi

Favourite Dutch Place: The Burcht in Leiden and the innumerable bridges over the canals where you can stand for hours and not feel anything but serene

Favourite Dutch Food: Ah , a real toughie! Stroopwafels? Poffertjes? Kaassoufles? (Basically anything that fattens me up I guess. )

Hello there! As I embark upon this rather hard journey of describing myself in a paragraph, I hope you have the patience to read it all.  Now that I have the false humility out of my way, let me say this: You better like me! I’m kidding. (No seriously, you better like me.)

So I am an astronomer, but a huge fan of the arts. I love reading, have been trained in Indian classical music and dance. And like all stereotypical Indians, I love shaking a leg – without even being drunk! Quite a superpower, eh?

When I am not writing code (really,that’s what most astronomers do-more on this later), I am hanging out with my Dutch peers (achievement unlocked B-)), visiting museums, reading (worth mentioning twice), exercising at the sports centre (I try) or doing chores (ugh, adult life).

I have a few months left in Leiden and this is my first attempt at writing for a audience. But, you don’t have to be kind – comments and compliments are both welcome!


GraceAge: 24

Hometown: Xi’an, China
Study Program: MSc Media Technology
In Leiden: August 2011-May 2014
Previous University: Beijing Language and Culture University (2007-2011 Beijing,China)

I spent the past 22 years in a huge country with a huge population before coming to this quite town in this small country. It’s big contrast I have to say, but I like it. I always like noting down thoughts and things that happen in my life which I find interesting, impressive, or memorable. However, I don’t consider myself a very good writer who can use beautiful languages and compose fascinating chapters (maybe because ever since my bachelor the most things I learned to write is computer languages like ‘println( “Hello World!” );’ -_- ). What I usually do is just using simple language to write down what I see and how I feel. Anyway, I always enjoy reading the things I wrote — it’s like browsing through the memory of funny moments and thoughts. And I hope you’ll enjoy as well. ^ ^



ida-bloggerAge: 26

Programme/Course: Master Journalism & New Media

Hometown: Lębork (Poland)

In Leiden/The Hague since: on and off since 2012

Previous education: BA International Studies

Favourite Dutch food: cheese!

Favourite Dutch place: I love the green hills of Limburg, but my love affair with the beach cannot be broken.

Hello readers of The Leidener! I have been given the opportunity to share some (golden) thoughts, advice and tips about studying at Leiden University, living in the Netherlands, and why hummus is the best food on earth.

As this is an introduction section, I shall try to give you guys a shorty but sweet introduction about moi:

I was born in Poland in 1990 (yup, almost 27!), and I moved to the Netherlands at the tender age of nine. This means that my little world was turned upside down, and I had to adjust to a world with grandma’s on bikes, peanut butter, and learning the Dutch language. By now I have mastered biking through busy traffic while stuffing my face with a peanut butter sandwich, and my Dutch is almost better than my Polish. Though manouvering through the half immigrant, half Dutchie life can be tricky sometimes !

Education wise,  my first university of choice was Dutch Law, which I failed at miserably. I knew I wanted to broaden my horizon and be involved in something more international, and this is where International Studies at Leiden University happened. Three years of mingling with an international crowd, discussions with international professors, and making friends for life. A minor in Conflict Studies in Utrecht brought with new insights and as usual, new friends. Now, I am pursuing a degree in Journalism and New Media, which I hope to finish by next summer.

But will I write about, you might think.  Well, this senior will try to not only give you some study/university related advice, but also topics like living on your own for the first time, the queer life, and perhaps a bit more insight into The Hague, where I currently live.

My skills and passions: eating a lot of hummus, photography, sleep, books, documentaries, long and short travels, good journalism. Also cocooning myself in warm blankets during winter

James Gudgeon

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 01.06.04Age: 22 and ¾

Course: MSc Consumer Psychology and Business, Bangor University
Hometown: Chelmsford, United Kingdom
In Leiden: August 2013-August 2014
Previous Studies: BSc Psychology, Bangor University (2009-20012); PCEP, Pukyong National University (2011)

What’s up, Buttercups?! Or ought I say, Hoi! I’m James and I’m a 22-year-old Welsh-wannabe here in the fair old city of Leiden for two semesters of Erasmus exchange. Coming from my university hometown of Bangor, located in one of the furthest extremities of mainland Wales conceivable to man, the Leiden’s hubbub is quite the welcome contrast! At least, however, the weather doesn’t appear to be any better!

I’m a soul of simple pleasures, like taking brief strolls up a mountain or two; pulling on my wetsuit and trying to surf the ‘wave’ that visits Wales once a year; eating hearty breakfast foods; reading books, pamphlets, the back of shampoo bottles, etc.; twiddling my thumbs; enjoying a natural affinity for two-wheeled contraptions that expedite bipedal locomotion… The list goes on.

I’m looking forward to exploring Leiden, Nederland, Nederlands and the Dutch people in general over the coming year, and by the time we’re done with this here blog-based investigation, avid reader, perhaps we’ll both be just a smidge more qualified to call ourselves true Leideners…



 Jessie Crabtree

IMG_0710Age: 21

Course: Philosophy and Theology

Hometown: Stamford, England

In Leiden/The Hague: August 2014-December 2014 (exchange student)

Previous Studies: The University of St Andrews (2012-2016)

Favourite Dutch Food: Pannenkoeken

I absolutely love to travel, so when the opportunity arose to burst out of the (albeit beautiful) bubble of my tiny University town (St Andrews, Scotland), I welcomed it with open arms. Coming to Leiden and The Hague for an Erasmus semester was scary stuff, but definitely one of the best decisions I have made. I’m currently trying to embrace the Dutch culture – windmills, clogs, stroopwafel etc. whilst getting over my complete inability to cycle… but Leiden, with its picturesque streets, incredible courses and fabulous people, isn’t too bad a place to try  🙂


blogAge: 20

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges

Hometown: Hebden Bridge, England

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Previous Studies: Greenhead College (September 2011 -June 2013)

Favourite (Dutch) food: Stroopwaffels, or pannenkoeken, or drop

I’ve not really got much of a life story to tell, as before moving to the Hague I lived in the same little countryside town in the north of England all my life. It’s a very beautiful town; in fact it was voted the ‘grooviest town in England’ in the Observer, but a little less goes on there than in The Hague! I found out about Leiden University College online, and after reading about the academic programme there I almost instantly knew it was where I wanted to be. So I left England and came to the Netherlands, which has definitely been the most exciting thing to happen to me so far. Having just finished my first term (at the time of writing) I’m really enjoying university life and being a part of an international scene. Now I can share my experiences through The Leidener, and  perhaps persuade other internationals from small home towns to dream big (it’s totally worth it)!


Blogpicture  Age: 25

Hometown: Mainz, Germany
Course: MA Comparative Literature and Literary Theory
Previous University:  University of Mainz, Germany (2009-2012), University of Leiden  (Erasmus)

My Erasmus Exchange Program with the department of Book and Digital Media in 2011 brought me to Leiden. After having enjoyed the 8 month in Leiden thoroughly, I realized Leiden has a lot to offer, not only academically but also regarding the student life, so I decided to come back for my Masters. After having graduated in summer 2012 in Book Studies in Mainz I moved back to Leiden to study Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. Though I loved living in Leiden, I have to admit that I had concerns about getting bored in this small city after a while. But now, after having spent almost 2 years here, I still can’t get enough; it still surprises me sometimes how beautiful this city is. My study program is completely different from what I have done before and Leiden offers plenty of activities for students in Leiden, so I do not even have the time to get bored.  Due to the high amount of international students, the city is in a constant change, which gives you the chance to meet new people from all over the world every day. I highly doubt that I will ever get bored here.





Age: 24

Hometown: Hereford, United Kingdom

Course: LL.M. in Public International Law

In Leiden: August 2011 – August 2012

Previous Universities: Oxford University (Oxford, UK), Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)

Having finished my undergrad in PPE at Oxford I stayed on for a year to mess about on the river (organising rowing competitions), before taking a bit of a leap into the unknown and jetting off to Budapest to study for an MA in International Relations. I had a great time there, and thanks to the close academic links between Central European University and Leiden, I found myself with an offer to study international law in the country where much of it is made (the Hague being just 10 miles down the road). So, not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I hopped on a ferry with my backpack and bike, and made my way Leiden-ward. Most days you’ll find me in the law faculty or down at the Peace Palace in the Hague, diligently working on papers, editing articles and writing my thesis on refugee law and security. [Edit, February: Scratch ‘diligently’ from the above.]


Laurie MorganAge: 19

Programme: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges

Hometown: Kings Park, New York, United States

In Leiden/The Hague since… August 2014

Previous education: Kings Park High School, Class of 2014

Favourite Dutch Food/Place: Poffertjes! (Small, thick pancakes with powdered sugar)

Hi! I’m Laurie, a second year at Leiden University College in The Hague. I moved here in the summer after I finished high school on Long Island, New York. I’ve never before lived or extensively traveled abroad, and I don’t like coffee at all, so I suppose that makes me quite unique in the world of bloggers! Since living in the Netherlands, however, I’ve been travelling quite a bit around Europe and also when I’m home in the United States. My main hobbies for the time I do spend in The Hague are cooking, playing volleyball, and sharing political articles on my Facebook page (sorry, Facebook friends!). I also spend a lot of time studying, which I don’t mind because my major is International Justice, which is not only super interesting, but also serves as an excellent complement to the beautiful city I live in!
I look forward to writing a bit about my life, and hope to give you some authentic insight into what it is really like to study at Leiden University! Of course, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

Lianru Zhang

QQ图片20131020203532Age: 28

Hometown: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Course:  MSc Media Technology
In Leiden: July –September 2012, February 2013 – May 2015

I am Lianru, I come from Panda’s hometown. I am so happy that I can come to Leiden. For me, being in the Netherlands likes dream coming true. A lot of people asked me why I chose to study in the Netherlands. The reason actually is very uncommon. After the graduation of my former university, there was a voice appearing in my mind and told me should further my education in the Netherlands. Following my magic sixth sense, here I am. When I have been here, I have experienced a lot. Those nice and unlucky things made me becoming more mature and appreciating my wonderful life.

I am glad I have this chance to share my special story of my life in Leiden with you. I hope you will like it and be enjoyable.


MeliAge: 26

Course: MSc Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity & Conservation

Hometown: Heraklion, Crete, Greece

In Leiden:  Since August 2014

Previous Studies: Biology, University of Crete

Favourite Dutch Place: Nationale Opera & Ballet or wherever I can spot a glimpse of sunlight!

A Southerner, a daydreamer, an idealistic introvert who has already lived more than one lifetimes in her head. A reader, an islander, a thinker, who values intentions more than outcomes. Girl who blossoms in Spring and hibernates in winter. An advocate for self growth and strong believer that love and compassion are the only way. Passionate about all things animal, lives to preach that there is no bad day a dog can’t fix. By the time this life will be over she will have travelled to all seven continents, learned how to speak French and have been reunited with her karma carrier who currently lives in the southernmost part of Europe. She promised her fairy godmother she will make a difference and she is determined to do so, because she never breaks a promise. When she is not travelling physically, she projects astrally to warm sunny places, where she can be close to the sea and be reunited with her loved ones.


Age: 25

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
Course: Res. MSc. Social and Organizational Psychology
In Leiden: September 2012-September 2014
Previous Universities: York University, Toronto, 2005-2012, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Summer 2007

After being raised up in Istanbul, Turkey and then spending a large portion of my life in Canada,  I consider myself more of a bicultural being. I was an international student in Toronto and ended up working there for  a while until I came close to figuring out what I wanted to do in life. Now, here I am in a European city closer to my home country, continueing to be an international student! But, this is my first time living in a non-metropolitan city, and I am loving everything about it so far – no traffic, no crowds, no rush, no pollution,  no noise, no crime, lots of bikes, peace, canals, and cheese. Oh and I am studying in Leiden to learn more about social and cultural psychology. In my free times(what is that?), you can find me chatting with friends outside of the library, mumbling in Dutch for practice reasons, jumping, smiling, singing and biking around.



AgPhuonge: 23

Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam

Course: MA Asian Studies (History, Arts, and Culture of Asia)

In Leiden: since February 2014

Previous Studies: Underwood International College, Yonsei University, South Korea; Hosei University, Japan

Leiden newbie. An Asian girl at heart. Japanese culture enthusiast. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Scorpio. INTJ. Living in a world of wanderlust. Always dream of writing my own chick-lit. Passion for cutesy vintage. Ice cream lover. Cat person. Completely lost in life but fine with it. Deceptive appearance. Skeptical personality but will always do things with all my heart.

Words said it all. Hope you (and I) will find out how these tiny little fragmented puzzle pieces all make sense in my blog posts.


Age: 22

Hometown: Guisborough, UK
Course: MSc Public Administration
In Leiden: since August 2012
Previous Universities: University of Edinburgh, UK (2008 – 2012); Universidad de Valladolid, Spain (2010 – 2011) (Erasmus)

I graduated in June 2012 with an MA in Spanish and European Union Studies. Feeling too young and under qualified to take the plunge and try joining the real world with its terrifying phenomena of tax and 9 – 5 hours, I decided that further study was a sensible course of action. Leiden University, with its excellent reputation and considerably more reasonable tuition fees, seemed to be a good choice. And now, here I am, studying for an MSc in Public Administration. I’ve travelled around Europe quite a bit but I had actually never visited the Netherlands before applying to study here, so this is a big step into the unknown for me. I’ll be using this blog to share with you all the mishaps, adventures and experiences that I’m sure the next year has in store for me; I hope you enjoy reading as much as I’ll enjoy writing. And of course, if you have any comments or things you’d like to know, please drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer!



RoxyAge: 19

Programme: BA International Studies

Hometown: The Hague

In The Hague since forever…

Previous education: Dalton Den Haag

Favorite Dutch food: Oliebollen? Stroopwafels? Stamppot? So many options!

“Hey there!  My name is Roxy, and sadly I’m not an international student. In fact, I’ve lived in The Hague my entire life, and I’m 100% Dutch – which I personally find a bit boring! Having been in the International Studies programme for about 2.5 years now, I’ve met people from a huge multitude of places, and I’ve built up quite an international group of friends.

Last semester, I finally got to see the other side of the coin and be an international student myself, when I spent a semester in the United States to study at the College of William and Mary. All of a sudden, I was the one in a new place, knowing no one, having to take care of myself and living on my own for the first time. Although it was challenging from time to time, it opened my eyes to how much you can learn from taking a leap and moving to a new place, and helped me understand the experiences of my international peers here in The Hague a lot better.

One of my favorite parts of my semester abroad was traveling all across the U.S. West coast by myself. Another highlight was celebrating Sinterklaas with my friends at William and Mary. I managed to convince them to sing along to Sinterklaas Kapoentje, and we all enjoyed the care package full of kruidnoten my parents had sent me. It was a truly special experience. :)”

Saarthak Singh

IMG_7613Age: 20

Hometown: New Delhi, India
Studying: History
In Leiden: since August 2013

I am in Leiden on an Erasmus exchange programme from the University of St Andrews, UK. Having spent two years at the small university town by the Scottish coast, I felt the urge to burst the bubble and broaden my horizons. Leiden provided just the opportunity I was looking for. Travelling around in the continent was restrained while I was in the UK, but being here I have had more of a chance to see and explore various things for myself. Needless to say, Leiden is a great place to study and beautiful town to live in. I look forward to telling about my time in Leiden, for even though small, the city doesn’t stop surprising you. I hope you all enjoy my blogs.



Version 2Age: 20
Program: International Studies (BAIS)
Hometown: San Francisco, CA / Abu Dhabi, UAE
In The Hague since: August 2014
Previous education: University of Victoria (2013-2014)
Favorite Dutch food: Gevulde speculaas
Favorite Dutch place: The fields

Hello! I’m Sabrina, and I read The Leidener before I moved to Holland and I’m now excited to be a contributing author. I am American-Taiwanese and was raised in Abu Dhabi, though I spend most of my summers in America and Taiwan. I’m fairly studious but I’m also very easily swayed by all the fun to be had outdoors, and I carry a bucket list wherever I go. I have fairly diverse experiences with education – I’ve attended an all-girls school in Abu Dhabi, a boarding school in the mountains of Taiwan (where I completed my IB), and a university on a beautiful Canadian island! However, the things I haven’t experienced far outweigh the things I have, and I can only hope to strike a balance.

My interest in politics and culture led me to this program and my first time living in Europe. Life here is incredibly different from places I’ve lived before. I know how hard it can be to live somewhere so entirely new so I hope this blog provides some comfort in that regard! I hope to take some nice photos and videos for you along with my posts about The Hague and beyond. Please enjoy!




Age: 24 Hometown: London, United Kingdom
Course: M.Sci in Chemistry (final year Erasmus Exchange student)
Leiden Life: Autumn 2011 – Summer 2012
Home university: Imperial College London, UK

Born and raised in London, by age 22 I had spent all my life in England, so in the summer of 2010 I decided to pack my bags and head off on my own worldly adventure. I spent the next 3 months working at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, followed by an 11 month internship for BASF in Singapore. In July 2011 I returned to Europe, but traded London for the hippy dutch capital of Amsterdam from where I did a language course to help smooth my induction into Dutch culture. From September onwards I have been plying my trade at Leiden University in the Gorlaeus Laboratorum, working on treatments for Gauchers and Diabetes.


Age: 27

Programme/Course: Advanced LLM in Law and Digital Technologies

Hometown: Comilla, Bangladesh

In Leiden/The Hague since: in Hague sinc 31 October

Previous education: LL.M. from the University of Chittagong

Favourite Dutch food: Bossche Bollen

Favourite Dutch place: Rapenburg, Leiden

Shuvechcha (Greetings!)

It is Saimum who- currently studying Advanced Masters in Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University, professionally an Advocate in Bangladesh, passionately a Human Rights Defender, spiritually a 27 years old KID, proudly a coordinator of two elementary schools providing free education to street children, having ambition to be a politician someday, and simply a friend sitting beside you during your hard times!”



SebastianAge: 24

Programme: MA International Relations

Hometown: London, England

In Leiden: since August 2015

Previous education: BA History University of Leicester

Favourite Dutch Food:  Kibbeling and raw herring!

Hello! I’m London-born, and I have lived and studied in Valencia and Leicester. After finishing my BA in History and working in a London school for a year, I decided to quench my academic thirst by applying for an MA at Leiden. A few months later I found I had escaped the grey bustle and drizzle of London for, well, a slightly wetter and windier small beautiful Dutch town. No regrets. Here you can find my subjective writings on travel, culture, art, architecture and music. Feel free to contact me!

Shiva Prasad

Age : 24
Hails from : Hyderabad, India
Study in Leiden : Masters in Vitality and Ageing (Sept 2011 to Aug 2012)
Earlier study : Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery, Hyderabad, India

After 6 years of medical school, I needed a break, I wanted to travel. I could backpack maximum for a couple of months may be, but I wanted to stay outside and travel for longer. Combining studies and travel was the solution I thought. I developed an interest in geriatrics and gerontology during my med school. I googled for related courses and learnt that Leiden university is one of the few research oriented universities offering such a course. Leiden happens to be in Holland and I even got a scholarship! So without a second thought I landed in this place. I come from a typical Indian city of 10 million people full of colors, sounds, smells, hustle, bustle and chaos every where. For a person like me with such cultural conditioning, staying in this little, calm and quaint city ( a village by Indian standards) of Leiden was heaven. It has indeed been a great year. So, here I am to share my funny experiences and little stories about Leiden! Hope you enjoy it……



Shourya Khanna


Age: 23
Hometown: Delhi, India
Course:  MSc. Astronomy
In Leiden: August 2013-
Previous Universities: University of Surrey, 2008-2012

I think I am a nomad. My childhood was spent moving  countries and North America and Antarctica are the only continents I haven’t touched yet but hope do it someday although travelling to the latter might require great fitness and a good fat pocket, neither of which I possess currently.  And now I am in windy Netherlands.

I am studying Astronomy and given the history and collaboration Leiden observatory has this is perhaps one of the best places for the subject.

In my spare time I like watching films and with each post will be sharing one off my must-watch list. Since I am sure I haven’t watched all the great films yet I hope you will be leaving suggestions for me :).




Age: 21

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences- Global Challenges

Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany

In Leiden: since August 2012

Previous Universities: Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich

After graduating from High School and spending my gap year doing a civil service (Weltwärts for the Germans) in Ecuador, I started to study law in Munich. I really loved the city and the people, but law was just a too narrow subject for me, as I wanted to understand  the current happenings in our very complex world. So after talking to some friends who study in the Netherlands as well and who were always really positive about their programs I decided to apply to the Honors College of Leiden University (LUC). Here I can choose from a great offer of courses and can decide myself, how my curriculum looks like, what I want to learn and what I don´t need to know. LUC is located in The Hague what I am quite happy about as the city is a bit bigger and more multicultural than Leiden- and of course, we have a beach! So I´ll try my best to give you a broad view of how studying in The Hague is and how much you can enjoy yourself in the city of peace and justice.



59691_10200972068410352_1715571602_nAge: 21

Course: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges

Hometown: Pleinfeld, Germany

In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013

Favourite Dutch Food: pancakes with stroop, olliebollen and kaassouflet (can’t decide!)

Favourite Dutch Place: The Dunes in Meijendel and the national park  Hoge Veluwe

Goedemorgen, Ik ben Thomas uit Duitsland!
… ok, I come from a small town in Bayern, Germany and just started with my Bachelor at Leiden University College in The Hague!

I would consider myself an “all-rounder”, because you can find me involved nearly everywhere: music, sports, scouts, volunteering, organizing, travelling, chilling out, socializing, checking out new things… are only some examples of my every-day hobbies… Leiden, The Hague, Holland, beach, cheese, dutch, my dream study program… it’s just amazing to be here. Therefore, I would like to share some of my experiences of the exciting student life here in The Netherlands with you.

I hope you enjoy our stories!  Tot Ziens

cheers and beers,

Thomas 😉



Age :25

Course : MSc in Public Administration

Hometown : São Paulo, Brazil

In Leiden: Since August 2012

Previous Universities : USP – University of São Paulo, Brazil (2006-2010), BBI – Balassi Balint Institute, Hungary (2004-2005)

Half hungarian, half japanese, born and raised in Brazil ( Can’t play football or dance samba, but can make a killer caipirinha though). I have repeated this line over and over, but I guess it does a good job in describing myself. 🙂 After finishing by BA in International Relations and working for a while, I decided it was time to come back to Europe. I lived in Hungary some years ago and felt the old continent calling back, so the opportunity to study in different country, with a VERY different language, simply felt like the right thing to do. So here I am now, in the oldest university of the Netherlands and eager to explore all it has to offer. This is indeed quite a change from São Paulo, with its 12 million inhabitants, but I can’t help discovering new things every day.

So, see you around town! Tot later!


IMG_20131021_234715_2Age: 20
Course: MA Comparative Literature and Literary Theory
Hometown: Hefei, China
In Leiden/The Hague: since August 2013
Previous University: Shanghai Maritime University (2009-2013)

Hey since I’m a list person, here are the top 5 things you need to know about me:

1. I wasn’t born a smiler. Smiling is lousy. So next time you see me talk to you with a poker face, don’t worry. I don’t hate you. (I just don’t like you that much.)

2. I love comedy shows or just anything that makes me laugh (no, laughing is different from smiling).

3. I’m a full-time fangirl over indie bands. Okay I won’t bore you with another list of my 5 favorite bands.

4. I like Leiden more than the Hague. (Sorry, den Haag, although you have a Chinatown which I adore so much!)

5. I will try to write as much as I can about my life in Europe. It will be a wonderful year. I know it.




Age: 21

Hometown: Huainan, China

Course: MSc Political Science

Favorite Dutch food: Poffertjes

Favorite Dutch place: Clingendael

In the Netherlands: Since August 2012

Hi! I am Xueyan Xing, MSc student of Political Science coming all the way from China. This is my fourth year at Leiden University; my Bacherlor’s programme was Liberal Arts and Sciences. to be honest, I am still quite excited to be able to live and study here. Although life as a Master’s student is quite intense, I still squeeze out some spare time to do extra-curricular stuff such as calligraphy, traveling, singing, and reading. I am also addicted to library-studying; most of the time you will be able to spot me in the Social and Behavioral Science Library and the UB. To cut the long story short, I love being a Leidener, and I hope my blog entries would be a fun read.


Giulia (aka Zoe)

GiuliaAge: 26
Course: MA Asian Studies (East Asian Studies, Chinese track)
Hometown:  Rome, Italy
In Leiden:  Since January 2015
Previous Studies:  Oriental Studies (Chinese language and culture) @ University La Sapienza in Rome + two exchanges at Beijing Foreign Studies University
Favourite Dutch food: Stroopwafels
Favourite place: all of Leiden!

Hello everyone. I’m Zoe (or Giulia, as you please) and I hail from the Eternal City. I am utterly in love with Chinese culture, both classical and modern. I like to see how societies and cultures change generation after generation, and that’s why I love to study contemporary Chinese history, politics, society and artistic expressions (especially music and literature).

I love a relaxed lifestyle and I’m not very outdoorsy. But because I like to stay at home, I’m an eager learner. I sign up to as many MOOC’s as I can and read a lot. That does not mean I don’t like to travel, as I jump on a train as soon as I have enough finances! The Netherlands is an awesome place to do this, since it’s so small but packed with beautiful things to see.

I hope my words on the blog will bring to you the same passion I have about the things I cherish, and the awesome experiences I’m living here. Ciao!


37 comments on “Meet the Leideners

  1. Pingback: The Bicycle Bible | theleidener

  2. Fred
    January 12, 2012

    Ah, except it isn’t live anymore. I’m trying to track down the original, which I think should be somewhere still on the web…

    • theleidener
      January 14, 2012

      Hi Freddie! We actually came across Netherlash when looking for ideas for this blog. Looked like great fun. But then we went back to find it to show someone else, and it was gone! Feel free to let us know when or if you find it. Laurence

  3. Details
    January 12, 2012

    It’s great to read some opinions and other people’s experience here in Leiden. I’m Dutch, but I grew up in Italy and lived there until..a week ago. Now I want to explore “my” country. I will totally continue reading your blog!

  4. Inmaculada Ayatima Carrillo Felipe
    February 7, 2012

    ¡¡¡¡¡Hallo mensen!!!!!
    I’m a spanish student who is going to study this year in Leiden university. I’d like to know if I could rent a bike in order to go to my faculty of Humanities in Leiden. Do you know if there is a website where I could watch or compare rental prices of bikes? Here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canarische Eilanden, Spanje) there are bikes for rent given freely by the townhall but I don’t really know if I could the same in Leiden. I need to validate subjects of English Philology with those ones of the field of Humanities in Holland but I’m in the process right now. Ik weet niet wat ik moet doen maar ik probeer het …. hahahaha I’ve learnt a little bit of dutch on my own because I’m in love with the dutch language / Ik hou van de nederlandse taal!!!!! Could you help me? I have some doubts to solve related to the stay and the distance from the school.

    ¡¡¡¡¡Thanks for all!!!!!!

    • Anne
      February 8, 2012

      Dear Spanish student,

      Don’t rent a bike in Holland; just buy one (second hand). It’s really not worth your money to rent a bike if you will stay here for more than a week or so. There are plenty of bike-shops where they sell second hand bikes (ask Dutch students, search with Google etc.) – I reckon you can buy a decent second hand bike for around 70 euros minimum. It’s really worth your money! And remember: you will most surely also need a decent lock on your bike, or it will be gone in days.

      Btw, the faculty of Humanities is right in the centre of the City. Depending on your housing location, you might not even need a bike to get there. But then again, having a bike in the Netherlands is more or less indispensable – if only just to experience one of the essentials of Dutch culture!!

  5. Hi again!!!!

    I’ve forgotten to introduce you to the team mascot of Las Palmas Football Club and I hope you like him hahahaha because he’s the most important icon of my land as Marco Borsato is for dutch people hehehe yeah I’ve noticed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!hehehehehe


  6. Hi Anne !!!

    Hartelijk bedankt hehe en Angenaam kennis met u te maken; The truth is that I’d like to rent a room in Rijnfront but I do not exactly know if this one is located so much farther to the Faculty of Humanities right in the centre of the city, as you’ve said before. So, it’s better for me to buy a second hand bike then even if I prefer walking to see the place with more detail. It’s the first time I’m going to travel abroad so this is a great chance of taking photos of all corners of the city. Go to Holland is the biggest dream that I intend to achieve because I love it and also the dutch language that sounds very beautiful. Please, just answer my question whenever you can.


    • Anne
      February 8, 2012

      Hi there again!

      Rijnfront is quite a bit out of the centre of Leiden. It actually officially belongs to another village called Oegstgeest (in which Laurence writes he also lives), so you will be needing that bike!!

      Good luck with everything!

  7. Anne
    February 8, 2012

    Can I just compliment your stories on your interesting and funny blog!! I am really impressed with the accuracy and detail in which your blogs describe the Leiden student life, and life in The Netherlands in general. For a native Dutch person as myself, it is also an eye-opener to read how foreign students experience life over here. I think you three might well have experienced more of the real Leiden student life than a lot of native Dutch students (of which many still live with their parents somewhere outside of Leiden…) have! Congratulations. Keep up the good work!

  8. Hallo !!!

    Thanks for your cooperation but I’d like to know if there’s a better place to stay so much nearer to the Faculty of Humanities in which prices by room were not higher than 500€, I mean, a place to where I could easily go by walking for low cost and including all what is necessary to live. A place in good conditions, alsjeblieft, if you don’t mind. What would you recommend me?


    • Anne
      February 10, 2012

      It sounds like you’re looking for the impossible – the room everybody wants: close to the centre, good conditions, low rent. If I knew one, I would probably live there…. No, for real, I would recommend you to read Laurences blog ‘Te huur or not te huur? The housing problem.’ He basically coveres the whole subject and gives a few good tips. I really can’t help you any further.

      • theleidener
        February 14, 2012

        I think Anne is 100% right here – it can be pretty tough finding a place that meets all of the conditions you want. I definitely had to compromise on location to get somewhere that was suitable for me. You can search for ‘Housing in Leiden’ and ‘Leiden Housing’ on facebook, and also look for ‘ISN Leiden’. All three pages may help you. You can also look for shared rooms or advertise for people to share with. More details are on Te Huur, as Anne says. Finally, you might be able to have some luck with the Uni housing agency with 500EUR/month, so google them. I hope this helps.

        Thanks for the compliments Anne – it’s great to know that people enjoy reading the blog, and especially that Dutch people appreciate the view we’re providing ‘from the outside looking in’. We’re certainly enjoying writing, exploring, taking photos and the like.


  9. Ayatima
    February 16, 2012

    Dankuwel Laurence!!!! en Angenaam kennis met u te maken vandaag!!!!!! I’ve read your last message and I agree with you both but I just want to know if there’s a place to stay not too far from the Faculty of Humanities. I hoop you could help me in that sense and I prefer to establish a friendship (vriendschaap) from now on if you don’t mind, just for getting information in what it is concerned to live in Leiden. I’d like to share my culture. I come from Spain but I’m from the southern part of the country, in an island called Gran Canaria … maar het is niet zo groot als ik denkt … hahaha die mensen, alleen!!! hehehe you would not get lost here I think!! It’s a little paradise in the middle of three continents and I’m very proud of it hehehe but my second love if Holland and its people, culture, music (Rood van marco borsato, for example) … I’d like to share things with all of you like food or something like that haha such as ‘gofio’ or ‘sancocho’ muahaha it could be very interesting to taste something different. From now I know what a ‘pannekoeken’ is hehe en het smaakt goed!!!! So, whenever you want to, we can go on blogging with each other about more advertisements here.


    • theleidener
      February 16, 2012

      I’m afraid I don’t know where the humanities fac is, but the university housing office should definitely be able to tell you what they have near the centre of the city. If not, try Good luck!

      Gran Canaria sounds lovely, but Holland, although less sunny, can be very pretty too. I recommend you get involved with the ISN and the ESN when you come to Leiden, as they’ll be able to tell you about all sorts of opportunities to take part in cultural events and share experiences with people from all over the world who come to study here!

  10. Hannah
    September 1, 2012

    Hi Leideners!

    My name is Hannah and I am new to Leiden this semester.

    I’m a huge fan of your blog – I read lots of your posts before moving over and it was such a great way to get to know the city and university before arriving.

    I have a quick question for you all, I have set up a blog too to record my experiences in Leiden during my year away. It is mostly for the purposes of my scholarship (a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship) but it is also to keep in touch with friends and family back home. I was wondering if you would mind if I list your blog as a link on my blog? It’s such a great resource that I know people back home would enjoy reading.

    Thanks guys and keep up the great work!


    • theleidener
      September 30, 2012

      Hey Hannah! It’d be great if you’d share our blog on your page, thanks! Hope you’re enjoying Leiden so far 😉

  11. Julius Njonguo
    September 20, 2012

    Hi all,

    I’m a prospective Master of Public Administration student hoping to start in February. I’ll like to get to know other master students, especially those in the above mentioned master programme.


    • theleidener
      September 23, 2012

      Hi Julius! One really easy way to find other people on your course is to search for people and groups on Facebook. For example, if you go to the ISN Leiden Facebook page, then from there you might be able to find new friends and classmates. And it’s a good way to find out what events are happening in the international student community here.

  12. Pingback: Ik hou van Naturalis | theleidener

  13. Gema
    February 22, 2014


    My name is Gema, I’m Spanish, and I will be graduating for the International Baccalaureate programme this year. I think LUC the Hague it’s just perfect, so I hope to start BA International Studies next September 2014! Did any of you applied with the IB? If so, do I have to take a language level exam? (I did my IB programme in spanish). And do I have to live in the Ana van Buerenplein compulsory? or that’s just for the Global Challenges students? It’s a really nice building!!

    I’m sorry for all the questions, just want to make sure I’m doing it the right way, Congratulations on the blog, it’s so incredible it makes want to catch a plane to Leiden right now!

    Thank you very much.

  14. Raphael Dias
    March 6, 2014

    Hey! My name is Raphael I’m brazilian, actually from the same town as Beatriz, and I’m applying for the BA on International Studies in Leiden. It’s great to see so many people from so many different international backgrounds in Leiden, makes me feel even more excited about going there 🙂 Do any of you guys have tips for a prospective student in the BA?? Especially regarding the application process? Thanks!! Hope to see you all in september!

  15. Raufs
    April 23, 2014

    Hi, everyone =) My name is Raufs, I am from Latvia. Intended to come to Leiden for this year’s autumn BA programme in Southeast Asia Studies. Just wishing to establish some connections with other people. Any tips on application procedures, beginning of living etc are very welcome. I am quit serious guy, interested in business, politics, but loving literature, philosophy, good music, sharing experience. Something relatively intellectual, but not snob. Wish we will accomplish survival during the first year here. =) 😉

    July 31, 2014

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.

    It’s always interesting to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their

  17. greta russo
    June 19, 2015

    Hello there 🙂
    Ciao belli!!
    It’s so great to read all your amazing stories!!
    I’m Italian and I m going to start Leiden this fall! I’m so nervous but excited too!!
    I was wondering if there is anyone who can talk with about the bachelor’s program I’m going to attend which is SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES!!
    I’m so confused about this Uni (which sounds really amazing!!) and another on in Italy, so i would like to have opinion about this bachelor but i can’t find any info of students all around here!!!!
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • admin@theleidener
      June 22, 2015

      Thanks Greta! I will email you with the details of a student and the study coordinator who will definitely be able to help!

  18. Greta russo
    June 22, 2015

    Thank you muchly!!!!

  19. suraj bhagat
    August 22, 2015

    I am happy to read story of you all. I am from India. I have done my masters in clinical psychology at fergusson college pune, india
    I am interested in studying and working at leiden. Please help me if you can waiting for your positive response

  20. Callum Thomson
    October 28, 2015

    Hello to all!

    Great website to read about everyone’s different experiences! I’m currently studying in the British School Manila in the Philippines, but I’m half Scottish, half Filipino too! I read the International Studies course prospectus and was utterly amazed by the content involved. The course itself blew anything else in the UK or Ireland away nearly and immediately became my top choice. I’m applying for entry in fall 2016 and hoping that I get accepted.

    I just have a few questions to which I’ve been trying to find the answer recently. Firstly, is there a set IB predicted score that’s necessary to be able to enter the International Studies course? And secondly, in terms of accommodation, is it possible to request the person with whom you want to share the room? Just wondering as my friend is also applying from his school in Singapore! Hope to hear from you guys soon!

    All the best and I hope to see you all next year!

  21. Aline
    June 4, 2016

    Hi ! Hallo !
    Ik ben Aline, ik ben van België, Brussels. I’ll arrive in Erasmus in Leiden in February 2017, I’m 21.
    I’m studying History (Late Modern) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium.
    I’m a bit anxious about my Learning programm, because I don’t find courses in Master for the second semester in Late Modern History or even Early Modern…

    It’ll be great if I could have some tips about the University or others things about an student life in Leiden and the things to see around (without driving licence :P)….

    Thank you !! Dank u ! (I speak French (native), English and Dutch)

    PS: To the Blogger Anna from Bath:
    I’m coming for 10 days in Bath between 20th of August and the 2d of September. Do you think we could meet us around there one day or another ??

  22. Nemeth Mark
    December 1, 2016

    Hi Everyone!

    My name is Mark and I am planning to attend one of Leiden’s Psychology MA programs starting hopefully next fall. I am currently completing my Psych BA at York University in Toronto, Canada.
    I was just wondering if any of you would be so kind to share some information or experience with me regarding of the psychology MA program and admission process? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thank you !!!!

  23. Heba
    June 24, 2017

    Hi everyone,

    I’m planning to study MA in Educational Science (part time), I’m wondering if one of the Leidener has done it or still doing it . I need to know more about it.

    Thanks a lot.

  24. Marilena
    August 28, 2017

    Is there somemody here, who studies Learning Impairements? I would appreciate a kind of help 😊

  25. ezeelo
    September 14, 2017

    Your grocery blog is very nice this is a very useful tips thanks for sharing this post..

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