My favorite class was the Netherlands and its European Context course. It gave me so much insight into my host country, and I learned about Europe and the EU. I felt well-educated leaving the course and as if I could contribute to discussions on current issues pertaining to the Netherlands and the EU.
Population: approximately 118,000
Language: Dutch, although English is widely spoken
One of the Netherland’s best kept secrets, Leiden is a charming university town in the Groene Hart (Green Heart) halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague. It is surrounded by green meadows, little villages, and, in spring time, the world famous flower fields. Students are amazed by the landscape decorated with picturesque canals, ancient churches and towering windmills. They can easily find themselves strolling down cobblestone streets lined with buildings dating back to the 17th century or visiting a market on the banks of the Rhine that has existed for over 900 years. Not without modern comforts, however, the entire city of Leiden and some surrounding villages boast a wireless network.
As the birthplace of Rembrandt and Leiden University, the nation's oldest and most prestigious university, Leiden has a long and rich cultural history. While in residence, you may choose to take courses at Webster University and Leiden University, a world-famous science institution and home to botanical gardens planted in 1578. The city is also home to 12 museums which house priceless and unique collections of international fame including the Museum of Antiquities with an excellent collection of artifacts from Egypt, Greece and Rome.
This university town is located in the heart of Europe and in the heart of the Netherlands, making it easy to explore both inside and outside of the country. Leiden is less than 30 minutes from Amsterdam and less than 15 minutes from The Hague! Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in the Netherlands, and some students choose to purchase a used bike while in Leiden. It's a practical way to get from the residence hall to classes and ideal for exploring places in the city to shop, eat and study.