leiden photo
The excursions and extracurricular activities were great ways to be immersed in the Dutch and European culture.
– Sara Allen
Central College

orientation/excursions

Each Central program offers an in-depth orientation that will acclimate students to the country's language and culture as they get a feel for their new environment.

Leiden orientation

Get to know your surroundings by beginning your semester abroad with a full orientation led by your resident director. Students will spend the first two-and-one-half weeks studying intensive Dutch language, acquiring a basic conversational level by the end of orientation. More advanced levels are available to students with previous knowledge of Dutch. During this time, students will meet with the resident director for final course selection and academic advising. Orientation also includes, among other activities, a tour of Leiden and a trip to Amsterdam.


Cultural excursions

One of the highlights of studying through Central College Abroad in Leiden is the number of cultural activities and excursions that are included as part of your program fee. Many of these excursions, facilitated by the resident director, speak to the cultural learning and understanding you’ll gain in your courses. Recent excursions include:

  • Three days in Belgium visiting Brussels and Brugge
  • A day trip to Apeldoorn to see the royal palace of Het Loo and the Park Hoge Veluwe, a nature reserve with an art museum and famous sculpture garden
  • A visit to the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam
  • A trip to The Hague—the seat of Dutch government, a host to the United Nations and the center for the International Courts of Justice and Arbitration
What's included:
Program excursions and cultural activities include transportation, entry fees to museums and local attractions. Weekend excursions also include lodging and breakfast.

Optional excursions are available for minimal fees, including a popular canoe tour through Leiden’s canals and a three-day trip to the Dutch island of Texel. Group discounts make this a budget friendly option and may include transportation, accommodation, entry fees, and bicycle or canoe rentals.


Outside of regular program excursions, many students choose to explore on their own, either over the weekend or during a semester break. Public transportation in the Netherlands is excellent. In the past, students have taken advantage of the central location of the Netherlands, visiting countries such as Germany, France, England and Spain via train or a short plane ride.