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Leiden Summer School connects linguists internationally

'Every year the courses are different, and there are new things to learn.' The 6th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics from 18-29 July this year has attracted 120 participants, 90 international and 30 from the Netherlands.

Well-known summer school in the USA

From l to r: Perot, Panpan, Kianoosh and Davor

According to Perot Bissell from Brown University, USA, ‘this programme is well-known in the United States’ and he ‘heard about it from several other friends who have done it and recommended it.’ Perot is currently working on his PhD on Sanskrit epic poetry. ‘At Brown University there are only 3 students of Sanskrit, whereas in our morning Vedic poetry class in Leiden there are 20 of us from all over the world!’ Perot likes Leiden and is impressed by the beautiful buildings, the canals and the many young people in Leiden.

Unusual situations, interesting conversations


Panpan Lin from P.R. China is participating for the first time this year. She is studying an undergraduate programme of English Language and Literature at Sun Yat-sen University, Ghangzhou. Her most memorable moment was an unusual situation that led to many interesting ‘international’ conversations. ‘I had a problem locking my door at our dormitory, so my Italian neighbour helped me. He then invited me to have a meal with him and his roommate. We ended up eating wonderful Italian pasta and having a great conversation!’ Since then, Panpan has had many interesting conversations with many of her international neighbours.

Every year completely different

For Kianoosh Motaghedi, an artist who is also researching calligraphy at the University of Tehran, Iran, this is the third year he has attended the Linguistics summer school. ‘Every year the courses are completely different, so there are always new things to learn. and every year I meet new people,’ he comments. For Kianoosh, Leiden is his favourite city in Europe: ‘It has so much history, so many impressive buildings – and the botanical gardens are just beautiful.’ But his greatest praise is reserved for the Leiden University Library: ‘It’s a privilege to have access to such a wealth of material and sources.’

'In Leiden, multiculturality is the status quo'

Davor Rončević, studying Linguistics and Swedish at the University of Zagreb, Croatia,is also no newcomer to the summer school; this is his second time. For him, the attraction of the summer school is its unique opportunity to come together with more than a hundred people all from different countries and different fields, but who all have some aspect of linguistics in common. ‘The main purpose is academic, but you make some excellent friends; in fact, what you’re doing is building an international community,’ is his summing up of the summer school. Davor has travelled extensively in Europe and the US, and, in comparison with the places he has visited, what strikes him most about Leiden is that it is such a multicultural place, and that this is so integral to the city. In his words: ‘In Leiden, multiculturality is the status quo.’


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