Universiteit Leiden

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Social life and settling in

When you decide to move to the Netherlands and bring along your family there is a great deal that needs to be taken care of. We will provide some information on schools, childcare and learning Dutch to help you settle in in the Netherlands.

Help a fellow network

Moving to a new place is exciting but can also be daunting. At Leiden University we have started a “Help a Fellow network” to make you feel welcome and help you find your feet in your new home town. We can match you with a colleague who knows from experience what it is like to move to Leiden.  If you have just arrived in Leiden and would like to be matched to one of our enthusiastic international or Dutch staff members, sign up here and your match will contact you by email or phone to give you a friendly welcome.

You can meet for a coffee or go for a walk, together you decide what will work best.
Have you been in Leiden for a while?  You can play a key role in helping a fellow international feel at home and welcome in our community. If you wish to volunteer, please sign up here. Any Leiden University staff members who are interested can register to be matched with a fellow international.

What happens next?

•    A volunteer fellow will receive notification by email of a match with
o   Name, nationality, institute, arrival date, email/telephone
•    First moment of contact, preferably around a week before arrival.
•    Elise Molenaar (scis@leidenuniv.nl) will be the contact person from SCIS. Please contact me with any questions you may have.
•    When you get to know each other, make arrangements together about what you can ask of each other and what you can offer. Examples are:
o    how to keep in touch (e.g. WhatsApp);
o    frequency of contact (e.g. weekly, monthly, as needed);
o    nature of the contact (going for a walk, working out together, catching up, meeting up for coffee, going to a museum together, etc.);
•    A fellow is never a replacement for a professional advisor, mentor, or psychologist. A fellow can listen, can advise, and knows which channels are available at the university.
•    A fellow is a volunteer. The SCIS will make sure that you are aware of fun activities and places of interest that you could visit together.

Social groups

Social at Leiden University

The SCIS organizes fun social events throughout the academic year for all international staff. It is a great opportunity to meet other staff members. Examples are: guided city walks, Summer drinks, Sinterklaas evening. Please send us an email at scis@leidenuniv.nl and we will gladly add you to our social events mailing list.

Other social groups

If you are interested in meeting other internationals outside your working environment, you will soon discover that there are a lot of vibrant communities with lots of different activities. The Expat Centre, for instance, organises a variety of activities that are often free of cost. Many internationals meet through different expat communities:

•    I Am Expat
•    Expatica
•    Internations
•    Leiden Mix

Learning to speak Dutch

The academic language centre at Leiden University offers free online courses to give you an introduction to Dutch. The Dutch love speaking English, which makes communicating upon arrival easy. However, for a deeper understanding of the culture and knowing what is going on in The Netherlands, a grasp of the language can be very useful and entertaining:

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