Universiteit Leiden

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‘New students, tomorrow's world needs you!

'Today is the start of EL CID, the first of three introduction weeks at Leiden University. A new influx of students is ready and waiting, eager to get started. Vice-Rector Hester Bijl warmly welcomes all new first-years. ‘Go for it and grab your chances!’

As Vice-Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, Hester Bijl is responsible for education. The start of the introduction weeks, when the city is filled  to the brim with new first-year students, is a special time for her. 'Students have to find their way around the city and get to know the University as quickly as possible so they can feel at home here. That's why the EL CID week is a combination of getting to know the University, student life and the city.' 

So many opportunities

‘Leiden University's motto is Praesidium Libertatis, Bastion of Freedom. Every student should know about our motto, and should realise that it truly is what our University stands for,' Bijl says. 'All our first-years also need to know that there are so many opportunities at Leiden University. Not only because the enormous range of subjects you can study here, but also because of all the other opportunities to develop your potential, within and outside your degree programme.' 


Bijl's has strong memories of her own first year as a student: she studied Technical Maths in Delft. 'It was great fun, but also something of a shock. I liked my programme, the city and making new friends; it was all part of the independence you suddenly have as a student. But I was shocked by the speed at which the programme went: we took in as much iniformation in two hours as we had in two weeks at school. We really did have to study hard!' 

Grab your chances

Bijl encourages new students in Leiden to get down to studying straight away. 'It's important to make a quick start if you want to finish your degree on time. Use your time well, for your studies - and for your personal development in other areas; that's just as important. And try to get a good balance between the two.' A pro-active mindset will take you a long way, is the advice from the Vice-Rector. 'Go for it and grab your chances!' 

Develop your talents

What would Bijl's message be to all the new students at Leiden University? 'Tomorrow's world needs you, so develop your talents, both by gathering knowledge and learning new skills in the fantastic years that lie ahead of you. And make use of the enormous network of Leiden alumni that is open to you.'  

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