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Enthusiastic start to EL CID

More than 3,500 enthusiastic Leiden first-years, 80% of them coming to Leiden University, gathered on Monday morning 13 August at the Lammermarkt for the start of the EL CID. Music booming, the groups gathered around their mentors in two shifts, at 9.30 and 11.30.

Around 20oC  and alternating between rain and dry. Is this typical Dutch weather after the tropical conditions of recent months? Not everyone has come prepared for the change in the weather, but luckily, the crew has rain ponchos to hand out. 

For almost all the participants, the EL CID marks the start of a new life, with a lot more responsibility, both for the study programme and for how students organise their personal lives. They're ready for the challenge and are looking forward to it. 

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Janienke van Geest
Janienke van Geest: 'Leiden was a practical choice.'

Janienke van Geest – Political Science

Janienke is very interested in politics and follows all the political news. She is also a member of a political party. Political Science was a logical choice for her. She was toying between Leiden and Nijmegen. Why did she opt for Leiden? 'It was a purely practical choice,' Janientje explains. 'I am from Monster (a town in the Westland area) and although I want to come and live in Leiden in time, I'll be commuting at first.' What are her expectations of the EL CID? ‘Having a lot of fun and getting to know the city. She's already chosen her student association: 'I'm going to join NSL.' That is the Leiden Navigators Student Association, an open Christian association. 

Tom de Beer
Tom de Beer: 'I want a study programme that will combine the things I enjoy.'

Tom de Beer – Bioinformatics

There is some confusion: is Bioinformatics a separate programme in Leiden? It must be because Tom is going to be studying it. There's no need to explain student life to Tom becaue he's already been a student for the past two years in Delft. But the programme he was doing there wasn't right for him. Tom is a real science lover, his main interests being biology, maths and physics. 'My choice of programme isn't based on any future plans,' he explains. 'After Delft I just looked for a programme where I could combine the things I like doing.'  Tom comes from Tilburg, and Leiden is completely new for him. He's hoping to make new friends and to find a student association that appeals to him: 'I'm completely open to any kind of association.' He also needs to find a room. 'I hope I find a room soon because it's two hours by train from Tilburg!' 

Ndeye Ly and Vera Tukke
Nee, Ndeye Ly (l) and Vera Tukker hadn't agreed their hairstyle in advance: they've only just met.

Ndeye Ly – Rechten; Vera Tukke – French Language and Culture

Ndeye and Vera have only just met. Ndeye is from France and Vera from Arnhem. They chose to study in Leiden for different reasons.  Ndeye is going to be studying Law, and wants to move into the international arena. 'It's a good programme,' she knows for sure. She sounds Belgian. 'That's because I did Dutch for three years in Belgium.' Vera feels drawn to the busy Randstad area. She is active in the MUN, the Model United Nations, a youth organisation that mirrors the United Nations. She has made friends at MUN conferences, many of whom are from the Randstand, including students from Leiden. 'Everything is so close by here,' she says. Still, she will be leaving behind many friends in Arnhem.  
Both Ndeye and Vera are keen to get started, exploring Leiden and making new friends. 'And partying...' Nyele quickly adds. 

Marnix Meeuwis
Marnix Meeuwis makes a relaxed impression.

Marnix Meeuwis - Law

Marnix already knows that he is going to join Minerva, so there's no need for him to look at other student associations. He's also hoping to find a room in a Minerva house. In terms of his study programme, this very tall, red-haired first-year student of Law wants to go in the direction of business law. Marnix is from Breda. 'So far I know absolutely no one in Leiden,' he says.  But that wil soon change. Marix makes a relaxed impression. He's looking forward to the EL CID, although he won't be taking part in all the activities. 'I'll see what appeals to me.' 

Yaxin Man
Yaxin Man was happy she could take part in the EL CID.

Yaxin Man - China Studies

Yaxin comes from Harderwijk. There was no choice of where to study for Yaxin because Leiden is the only university that offers China Studies. 'But that doesn't mtter because a friend of mine is already studying in Leiden, doing Japanese.' This programe is one of the three programmes that are only available in Leiden: the third is Korean. Yaxin's aim with the EL Cid week is to 'do some nice things and meet new people.' Luckily, all the EL CID participants want the same. Yaxin only registered for EL CID at the last minute and she was happy that she could take part. And now here she is, on the Lammermarkt. She is staying with her friend this week. 

Suzanne van Zwol
Suzanne van Zwol is looking for a sports association.

Suzanne van Zwol – Life Science and Technology

For some students EL CID is not their first introduction to the study programme: Suzanne has already been to the first-years weekend for her Life Science and Technology (LST) programme, but she's still enthusiastic about EL CID. She's a bit apprehensive, 'but that's all part of it.' LST is a combination programme with TU Delft, and Suzanne will travel regularly from Leiden, where she has a room, to Delft. She's not worried about the commuting. 'The programme just really appealed to me.' In the EL CID Suzanne wants to ook for a study association to join, although it won't be a social club.. 'I'm mainly looking at the sports associations.'

Text: Corine Hendriks
Photos: Sybren Dallinga
Videos: Sean van der Steen


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