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Delve into Sanskrit or Amsterdam Pride

It's the middle of summer and the lecture halls are full. Students from all parts of the world have come to Leiden and The Hague for a summer school, on subjects varying from linguistics to international criminal law and from physics to biopharmaceutical sciences. Lecturers and students talk about what makes the school so instructive and so enjoyable.

Sasha Lubotsky is Professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics and director of the summer school in Languages and Linguistics. Every year students from reputable universities all over the world come to Leiden for this summer school. Leiden University is a specialist centre for studying exotic languages, as well as Indology and Semitics. These subjects are all included in the summer school, Lubotsky explains. 

Learn a new language

The students have a wide choice of options in the programmes offered at the summer school. 'The participants can take broad-based subjects or study something in more depth. They can start to learn one of the exotic languages and in the two weeks of the summer school they can achieve a fairly good level,' says Lubotsky. 'They also have the option of working for study credits by doing an exam at home.' But in Lubotsky's view, it is not just about study credits: 'You need to be here as a linguist, because you get to know your peers in the field, who may well be your future colleagues.'

The University has created a website for people who are interested in joining the summer school in Leiden or The Hague. Take a look at summerschool.universiteitleiden.nl. You will have lectures by Leiden staff and guest lecturers, and you will visit some interesting locations. Besides lectures, there are also social activities so that delegates can get to know one another.  

Visit to Pride Amsterdam

The Hague summer school in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law took place this year for the second time. The programme was divided over The Hague and Amsterdam. Professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law Kees Waaldijk looks back with satisfaction on this year's summer school. ‘We had excellent guest lecturers from three continents, and there were visits to the International Criminal Court and Amsterdam Pride, both of which were directly linked to the summer school programme.’

Addition to your studies

The summer school at the Grotius Centre attracted not only students of law and international relations, but also many professionals from organisations that work on behalf of refugees, human rights or LGBTI issues. In Amsterdam they took part in the public evening on Rights Out There. ‘I was pleased that "our" students joined in the discussion. Five of them were interviewed by Boris Dittrich of Human Rights Watch. The topic - the freedom and safety of LGBTI organisations worldwide - is a perfect fit for our progamme.' At the end of the week a large group of the delegates enjoyed the parade on the Amsterdam canals.

A good reputation

Several of the participants also mentioned Leiden University's good reputation. Diyang Yu is a Chinese PhD candidate from Peking University. He was full of praise for the summer school: ‘I heard that the lecturers here are the best in the world. I've come to work on my knowledge of Arabic and I've gained a good idea of which topics are currently being studied.' 

Mix of usefulness and pleasure

Paul Morrell is from California in the US, where he works as a consultant for database systems. Ideally, he wanted to do this interview in Dutch, to practise his Dutch skills. 'I'm doing this summer school on linguistics for pleasure,' he said. 'I take evening classes in linguistics in my spare time. I really like Dutch culture and politics - and the language - so it's great to be here.' 

Paul Morrell: 'I really like Dutch culture and politics - and the language.'
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