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Leiden through the eyes of… Summer School in Language and Linguistics students

The Leiden Summer School in Language and Linguistics is visited every year by many scholars worldwide. Four of the 120 participants of the 7th Summer School in 2012, share their view of Leiden.

Small city, world renowned

From left to right: Tracy, Mariarosaria, Adam and Melinda
From left to right: Tracy, Mariarosaria, Adam and Melinda

Mariarosaria Zinzi had just completed her PhD in Greek Linguistics at the University of Florence. ‘It’s impressive that a relatively small city has such a world-renowned university that organises a unique summer school in language and linguistics. This Summer School really has an excellent reputation throughout the world.’ Mariarosaria is currently looking for a post-doc position: ‘Leiden would be nice’.

Learning from the experts in Leiden

For Tracy Jamison Wood the Leiden Summer School is a wonderful opportunity to learn, and in her case re-learn, from experts in the field after following similar linguistics courses at the University of California in Los Angeles, USA. In particular the teaching of Lucien van Beek and Tijmen Pronk impressed her, ‘I have nothing but good things to say about these experts’.

According to Adam Hyllested (Denmark), in Leiden you can learn not only from experts, but from specialists. ‘In Denmark most of the researchers are generalists. I love the fact that you can learn from a specialist about a subject or language in Leiden.’ Adam, who is currently completing his PhD in European Studies, is fascinated by what a language can teach us about the history of a culture.

Walkable water city

Easygoing Dutch on the canals of Leiden
Easygoing Dutch on the canals of Leiden

‘Coming from L.A., where I need to drive everywhere, I love that Leiden is such a walkable city,’ Tracy  smiles. It is her first time in Leiden and she finds the Dutch friendly and easygoing. ‘I have a view of the canal from my room and see the boats pass by. This is what Leideners seem to do when the sun shines. They get in the boat, not to go anywhere, but just to be in the boat!’

Truly amazing library

Melinda Fodor, PhD student of Indology, works and lives in Paris and is doing her PhD in her spare time. ‘Leiden is a lovely city, small, with a true student atmosphere.’ For both Melinda and Mariarosaria ‘an amazing’ highlight was the University library. ‘You can find absolutely everything there that you want about so many different subjects. We are treated just like real Leiden students. We have access to all the same facilities, including the library and study rooms.’

Learning from each other in Leiden

All four participants agree that the Summer School is an excellent opportunity to meet and also learn from fellow linguists. For some, like Tracy and Adam, it also offers the opportunity to team build with their respective colleagues from their home countries.

8 August 2012 - RC

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