Universiteit Leiden

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Temporarily discontinuing your studies

Sometimes you might need to temporarily discontinue your studies due to personal issues. Or you may decide to take a break from studying, for example between your Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes. There are several options available to you, but make sure to look into all the procedures and conditions in advance.

Personal issues

Are your studies not going as planned and costing you a lot of time and effort? Or are things going well academically but you are experiencing problems in your personal life? Everyone is different. We are all in different phases of our lives and have different issues to deal with. It is important that you recognise any problems as early as possible and discuss them with your study advisor right away. Together you can look into ways to enable you to complete your studies, even if this means studying at a slower pace. If this isn’t possible you may both decide that discontinuing your studies for a while is the best option. 

You can read more about the help available in this kind of situation under ‘Exceptional circumstances’. 

Regulations on financial support

In some cases financial support is available if you find yourself in a difficult position and have communicated this on time through the proper channels. Read more on our page about Regulations on financial support for students

A gap year

You may decide to take a year out from your studies. Whether this is wise really depends on what you want to do during your gap year. There’s nothing wrong with spending time as a board member for a student association, gaining relevant work experience or seeing the world. But remember that some people find it difficult to return to their studies after a year out. If your ultimate goal is to complete your studies and you suspect you’ll find it hard to readjust you might want to reconsider taking a gap year. 

You can find inspiration and information for a productive gap year via the websites below: 

afs.org - intercultural programmes worldwide
aspectfoundation.org - studying worldwide 
activityinternational.nl (in Dutch) - volunteering, travel and study abroad
allianceabroad.com - working and travelling in Australia
applelanguages.com - language courses abroad
backpackers.nl (in Dutch) - working and travelling in Australia
ef.edu - language courses and study abroad
france-personnel.nl (in Dutch) - tourism jobs and internships in France
Joho.org - volunteering, travel and study abroad
just-uz.nl (in Dutch) -  jobs at Italian and Spanish campsites
projects-abroad.org - volunteering worldwide
studytravel.com - language courses and study trips worldwide
tricolore.nl (in Dutch) - French, Spanish and Italian courses abroad
siw.nl (in Dutch) - volunteering abroad
yfu.org - staying with a host family via Youth for Understanding