'Leiden has stolen my heart'
Xueyan Xing (right on the photo) comes from Anhui Province, China. Having studied at Leiden University College The Hague, she is now taking a master’s degree in Political Science. 'The libraries are my second home.'
Why Leiden? 'So many reasons'
'Leiden and The Hague are stunning cities. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands and one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. It has a great academic atmosphere. The lecturers and professors are really nice and helpful, and the libraries are fantastic. I go there almost every day.'
What’s different here?
'In my home country, students mostly live in dormitories. You have to share a room with 3 or more people, which means you lose some privacy. Here in the Netherlands, you can have your own room, sometimes you can even live in a spacious and modern studio. I also get the chance to practise my cooking skills because eating at the canteen can be a bit pricey.'
'Public transport here is easy. Here in Leiden, I walk for 6 minutes to Leiden Central, get on the train to Schiphol, and in 20 minutes I’m at the airport. It’s not only good for travel in the Netherlands; the rest of Europe is within easy reach, too. I have already been to a lot of European Countries without much effort. I haven't even traveled that much in China.'
'In China you spend a lot of time in class, and homework almost seems to be a sideline. Here I have only a few classes every week, but then I’m working hard almost all the time when I don’t have class. I feel it is much more challenging to study here than in China, also taking language barriers into account. You have to develop an independent way of studying here.'
Favourite place in Leiden?
'I first wanted to say Plantsoen because I'm such a bird person, and Plantsoen Park has so many lovely birds; but then I realized that the libraries are my favourite place. The libraries are like my second home, especially the Social Sciences one. I love the massive collection of books and journals, the computers with huge screens, and the librarians who are all so helpful and friendly. They already know me because of my frequent visits, and sometimes they even pick up the books for me without asking my name, which is really cool and heart-warming.'
Confucius, cute animals and oliebollen
'There are just so much to say about Leiden. There’s the Confucius Institute where I often meet people who speak fluent Mandarin with me. And there are so many cute animals in Leiden!!! I love the flowers in spring, forests in summer, parks and gardens in autumn, and oliebollen in winter!'
'But then there’s the weather…'
'Ah yes, the weather. If there could be a tiny bit more consistency in the weather patterns, I would be really, really glad. Also less rain and wind, alstublieft!'
When you leave Leiden, what will you take with you?
'Well, in material terms, I’m saving money right now so I can go to the university shop and buy as much as I can afford to take with me back home. And yes I will of course take my transcripts and diplomas with me!'
‘I’m not sure what I will take away with me emotionally, but Leiden has obviously stolen my heart, and I am not going to claim it back. I've fallen for the city and the university.'