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Honours year opened with VR glasses and mindfulness

The academic year of Leiden University's Honours Academy opened on 9 October. The opening ceremony was held in the Hooglandse church in Leiden.

Virtual Reality

In the Hooglandse church, Suzanne (16, Pre-University College) took off her VR glasses. 'I've just been swimming with dolphins in the ocean!' She then put on the next pair of glasses to be able to draw in 3D.  She and other participants were able to learn more  about the innovative honours programmes at Leiden University in different test labs. 'I can imagine that you can use virtual reality to make scale models of artificial limbs, for example,' was Suzanne's comment on possible future applications. 'But best of all, it's just so cool,' she adds with a laugh. 


It was very busy in the Hooglandse church, apart from in one corner: the Honours Class on ‘Mindfulness’. Daniel (16, Pre-University College) was putting his shoes on again after some brief yoga exercises. ‘I wasn't particularly stressed, but now I'm totally relaxed,' he laughed as he made his way to try out some of the other sessions. Lecturer Mischa van den Brandhof (Centre for Innovation): ‘In the Mindfulness Revolution Honours Class we look at the increased interest in mindfulness in de Western world. In the classes we sit on yoga mats, and take off our shoes, which results in a very different way of teaching.' Is this going to be the new teaching method? 'That's exactly what we get students to think about and it's what our teaching is all about.' 


‘We've organised workshops and created an escape room with puzzles about positive health.' In the Hooglandse church three master's students talk about their practical assignment for the Leiden Leadership Programme. ‘We've come up with a new way of raising awareness of positive health, for healthcare provider Gemiva. 'I's not just about physical health, but also mental health and purpose in life.' Laira (24), Simon (23) and Sietse (22) are enthusiastic about their project from last year. 'The company is now working on transforming our programme, so our ideas are being taken further.' 

About the Honours Programme

Leiden University believes it is important for everyone to be able to develop their talents to the full in programmes that offer greater depth or breadth. The Honours Academy offers pre-university pupils, and bachelor's and master's students additional programmes beside their regular studies. The Honours Academy aims to be a testing ground for teaching innovation throughout the whole university. 

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