Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden welcomes international students

If you're in Leiden this week, you can't miss the large groups of international students exploring the city. The Orientation Week Leiden (OWL) - the twice-yearly introduction week for international students - started on Tuesday 24 January, this time with more than 400 new students. ‘Every second building here is a restaurant - fantastic!'

One of the participants is Julian Antonescu (22), an exchange student from Sydney, Australia. ‘In all honesty, I didn't choose to come to Leiden; it was offered to me. But from what I've seen so far, it's worked out well.' Julian will be taking several different subjects at the Law Faculty. 'My university doesn't offer Criminology, so I'll definitely be doing that here.' 

Julian (front row, right) with his group

41 nationalities

The OWL has taken place twice a year since 2012, at the start of each semester. More than 430 students are taking part in the winter session, and together they represent 41 nationalities. Dutch master's students who are coming to the Netherlands for the first time are also welcome. The new students get to know the city and the university, under the wing of a mentor.


The OWL is organised by a team of six students, including Ariana Manduzai (25), a master's student of Journalism and New Media. 'I also got to know Leiden through the OWL: before that I studied in Groningen.  I'm still in touch with my mentors from my OWL week.' 


The theme of this orientation week is ‘Mythwinter’. Ariana: ‘Students meet one another and learn about Leiden through stories and folklore during the city walk on Wednesday. They also have the chance to visit the different faculties and can even have a go at ice skating.' 

'Lots going on'

Julian in any event has fallen under Leiden's charms. 'Nice and small, and lots going on.  I like cities with masses of bars and restaurants - and every other building here is a restaurant!' 

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