Universiteit Leiden

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International orientation week: don’t miss it!

Welcome to Leiden and The Hague! So there you are, an international BA or MA student, in a city where you don’t know the way and don’t speak the language. What now? Don’t panic: with our international introduction programmes, you’ll soon have learnt all the ins and outs. And another important thing: you’ll get to know lots of new people.

Veerle and Charlotte are students in Leiden and members of the organising committee of the OWL, the Orientation Week Leiden. So they can tell us everything about the course `Dealing with the Dutch’ and all the other useful and fun activities you can do in this week.

Who are these introduction weeks designed for?

For international BA and MA students in Leiden, there’s the OWL introduction week. The great thing is that the week is organised by students. Because students naturally understand best what other students want to know when they arrive in a new city. For the international students starting their BA or MA in The Hague, there’s the HOPweek.

What’s the purpose of these introduction weeks?

You get to know the city, the university, the Dutch culture and also your fellow students. Ambitious goals? Yes, but we wouldn’t do it for less! 

What countries are the participants from?

There will be no fewer than 90 different nationalities among the students. You could suddenly be talking to someone from Peru, or from Finland. This week is the best way to meet lots of new people. Close friendships often start during the OWL.

What kind of activities can you do?

A very handy one is the city walk, for example, where a student leads a small group of you on a guided tour of the city. And we also organise a market for second-hand bikes – because in case you don’t know yet: the bike is the ultimate means of transport in the Netherlands. And you get information about lots of practical things as well, like living in Leiden and organising your finances. We put you in touch with sports clubs and music clubs, but you can also take part in our career event, the short course in Dutch for Beginners and the crash course in `Dealing with the Dutch’. And of course you can have a lot of fun too. For instance at the water festival, the breezy bubble brunch, the pool party (in Leiden) or the beach party and the HOP Crawl (in The Hague).

Can you tell us what you gained from it yourselves?

Charlotte: Taking part in the OWL made me feel really welcome in Leiden. It’s an easy way to discover new things in an unknown environment. I still spend time with the people I met during the OWL. I think it’s great that the whole group keeps in contact. They’re my friends now! Veerle: I can even recommend it to Dutch students. It’s a very good way to get an international orientation and build up a network; very handy for after you graduate.

Get off to a good start in Leiden by taking part in the OWL, from 29 August to 2 September. 
For more information and to register: orientationweek.org

Going to be studying in The Hague? Then the HOPweek is a top tip: from 22 to 26 August. 
For more information and to register: hopweek.org

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