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Open Day: ‘The programme is what's most important'

More than 10,000 school-leavers and their parents visited the Open Day at Leiden University on 25 February. The prospective students were given information about the different programmes in Leiden and The Hague. 'I'm curious to hear about their experiences.'

Thijs (18), HBO, from Sassenheim

‘I've been to Open Days at other universities and I'm trying to decide between Physics and Philosophy, and between different cities. Last year I got my HBO [university of applied sciences]first-year diploma in aviation technology. It was interesting but the programme doesn't look at the underlying ideas; there's a problem, you solve it, end of story. I'm more interested in the"why" behind it. Philosophy or Physics would give me that opportunity. One of the curriculum subjects that really appeals to me is Philosophy of Science.' 

‘They are both tough programmes so they don't advise you to combine the two, but in the third year of the bachelor's you can take optional subjects. I felt that was missing in the HBO programme, and it's great that it's possible in a university programme.'  


Spence (17), 5 VWO, from Veldhoven

‘I'm interested in Information Science and Medicine. I'm taking information science at school [VWO-pre-university education] and I really like it. I'm even working on it during the holiday, which is unusual for me. With Medicine you're working with people and I like that a lot. Maybe there's a way of combining the two, and that's what I want to find out today.' 


Johan (16), 5 VWO and Maayke (19), HBO, from Veenendaal

Johan: ‘We're both interested in Archaeology. I also want to look at Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.' 

Maayke: ‘I've just finished my first year in Communication, at HBO level. With hindsight, I realise the people at HBO aren't really my type, so I want to switch to a university.  I've always liked History and I like the idea of doing something practical; Archaeology combines the two.' 

Johan: ‘I've got a clear idea now about  Archaeology. It's good that we came together because you each ask different questions.' 

Maayke: ‘In Arnhem, where I was doing my HBO, everything is on one campus. Here in Leiden, University buildings are spread throughout the city. That's new for me, but it's a good way to  see more of the city.' 

Johan and Maayke

Lorenzo (18), gap year, from Milan, Italy

‘I studied Foreign Languages in Italy and last year I lived in Texas. I wanted to try something new, which is why I'm here now. Thanks to my experiences in Texas, I'm able to study abroad. I'm interested in International Studies because I like History and Philosophy. I want to know how this programme will prepare me for my future, but I'm also looking for practical information, like: 'Where will I live in The Hague?' and 'What's student life like there?' I want to study, but I also want to have a social  life. The Hague seems to be a good place to achieve both those aims.' 


Hanna (18), 6 VWO, from Zeist

‘At first I was interested in Earth Sciences, but I've changed my mind and now I'm looking at International Relations, either the Dutch or English- taught version; I haven't decided yet.  An English-taught programme in The Hague seems more international, but Leiden is a real student city, which also appeals to me.' 


Christiaan (25), working, from Leiden

‘I've lived in Leiden since October 2016, having lived in Spain for 14 years. I finished my secondary education there and then worked for a while. I've come to the Open Day to find out about the new Security Studies programme. I've always been interested in security issues, things like who looks after security for senior public figures, and how is it organised? These people have to be able to intercept a bullet, so to speak!'   

‘I'm hoping to take part in the Experience Day at Security Studies shortly. My second choice is an HBO programme in Integral Security, but I'm 25 and I think the students at an HBO institution are in a different phase of their lives. Added to that, I think university would suit  me better.'  


Tanja (15), 4 VWO, from Deventer

‘I've just been to a presentation at Biopharmaceutical Sciences, and I'm also going to Psychology, Public Administration and if there's room Criminology. I want more concrete information about the programmes: what subjects are taught, what exactly do you do during your studies, that kind of thing. I'm also interested in other students' experiences.' 


Carolien (19), gap year, from Winterswijk

‘At the moment I'm on a gap year because last year I didn't know what I wanted to study. I had the same problem choosing subjects in my last years at school, so now I'm taking a year out.  I worked for three months at a school in Nepal and later this year I want to make a trip through Eastern Europe. And after that I really do have to make a decision about what to study.' 

‘I'm interested in International Relations and Organisations in Leiden.  Either that or Social Geography in Utrecht. Today I'm mainly interested in getting an overall picture of the programme. Then I'm going to do an Experience Day; I think I'll learn a lot from that.' 


Alerk (17), 5 VWO, from Hilversum

‘This is the second time I've been to an Open Day at Leiden University. The previous time I focused on a number of science programmes and now I'm looking at International Relations and Organisations and Leiden University College. My subject cluster is nature and health with extra physics, philosophy, history and music.  I've got a broad range of interests and It's hard to choose between the sciences and humanities. That's why I'm interested in Leiden University College. But the selection is tough so I'm looking for a back-up plan.'


Julinde (16), 4 VWO, from Leiden

‘I'm now at Child and Family Sciences; I'm interested in how children develop, how they think and why they do particular things. But today I'm here to look around more. I'm wondering if I'm too focused on Child and Family Sciences; are there are other interesting programmes? Next year I want to do an Experience Day to get a better picture of the programme. Where I study isn't so important to me; it's the programme first, then the city.' 


Kimberly (17), 5 VWO, from Capelle

‘I want to have more information about the Arts Media and Society programme. I'm not sure whether it's the right thing for me, but it's a programme that you don't find everywhere, which is why I'm considering it while I'm here. I'm also interested in Criminology, Psychology, Child and Family Sciences and Linguistics. I had hoped that after today I could cross a couple off my list, but that's not the case.  I'm enjoying the Open Day; it's organised really well. The people outside who point you in the right direction are very cool; after speaking to them, I know where I need to go, although I have got lost once or twice.' 


Did you  miss the Open Day? The next one is on 14 October. You can sign up from early September via this website. 


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