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EL CID: enthusiastic start for first-years and mentors!

EL CID has started! This is the week when new students have the chance to get to know the city and student life. Some of the mentors and first-years introduce themselves.

‘What a difference from when I was a student,' was the reaction of Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker during his welcome speech in the Hooglandse Church. ‘Our students and staff have done an impressive job organising so many activities for our first-years!  I hope you all have an unforgettable time, with some valuable experiences that will stand you in good stead in your future life.'

Jacomijn and Anjani

‘What are we most looking forward to? A great party, of course!'  Jacomijn and Anjani met less than an hour ago, but they are getting along fine. Jacomijn is going to study medicine, and Anjani philosophy. Anjani opted for Leiden because it is more compact than the bigger cities in the region and because the study programme appealed to her. For Jacomijn there were also practical considerations. ‘I'm going to still be living with my parents for the time being, and Leiden is an easy commute.’

Koen and Sonja

Hula dancers Koen and Sonja, students of Teacher Education and Biology, are raring to go. They are mentors to a group of first-year students of Biology and International Relations and Organisations. 'The first day they're still a bit wary and shy, but that will soon change. We'll show them the student associations and some student houses. After that they'll be ready to party.'


Shorts, sunglasses and a charger for her phone. That's all brand-new Law student Iris brought with her to Leiden. 'No, I didn't do much preparation,' she laughs. 'It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm hoping to meet a lot of other Law students.' She turns and plants a kiss on Stuko the Clown - mentor group 121's mascot - much to the relief of the mentors: 'Well, at least someone's broken the ice, so that's one worry less.'

Elmar and Matthijs

Like father, like son. Elmar will be studying Notarial Law in the coming year. His mentor Matthijs, in his fatherly role, knows what he's in for as he is studying Law himself. But first, El CID's self-declared 'best mentor father' is going to introduce Elmer to student life in Leiden. And Elmar? He will be living at home with his parents in Delft for now. He thinks Delft and Leiden are pretty similar. Matthijs thinks differently: 'Leiden has a lot more girls. The other alternative is to fall for the city.'


‘I'm just going to go with the flow this week,' says Rens. He will be starting the International Bachelor in Psychology this year; it's an English-taught programme with a lot of international students. 'I'll see how the first year goes. I'll be living at home in Dordrecht to start with and I won't be joining a student association. But I do intend to have fun!'

Janna and Lisa

‘This is my fifth year with EL CID,’ says Janna in her sweltering blue cow outfit. 'The first year I was a new student, and since then I've been one of the organisers every year.' Together with tiger Lisa, she is also a mentor mother again this year. Lisa: ‘The high spot is the Leiden First-Year Festival. We spend the whole week trying to get the first-years together in a close-knit, friendly group. We'll know at the Festival whether it's worked or not.'

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