Universiteit Leiden

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To arrange before departure

Pre-departure event

For students going on university-wide exchange, there is a compulsory pre-departure event. You will be invited by email. During the event you will receive a wealth of information about what you need to arrange before departure. You will also have the opportunity to meet students who have already been on exchange at your host university. In short, it’s a great way to prepare for your stay abroad!

Some faculties and study programmes hold their own pre-departure events. Check under your faculty or programme tab whether this is the case.

Health and safety

Find out about the steps you should take both before and after departure in terms of your health and safety. And don’t forget to sign up for a health and safety information session. See the health and safety page for further information. 

Have your courses approved

Would you like the credits you earn abroad to count towards your studies in Leiden? If so, you must have your courses approved in advance. In most cases, you will need to request approval from your programme’s board of examiners. However, for some programmes you must instead contact your international exchange coordinator. See your faculty or study programme tab for details of the procedures you need to follow.

Mandatory number of credits

Do you have to earn a mandatory number of credits during your stay abroad? If so, check carefully in our world map or on your host university’s website how many courses you will need to follow. If you can’t find the information you need, ask your international exchange coordinator for help.

Start early

Have your courses approved well in advance. You can only be certain that your credits will be recognised if your courses have been approved before you start them. It can take some time to receive approval, so submit your request as possible. Check the procedures on your faculty or study programme tab.


  • Find out if you need a visa. Your host university will usually let you know. Alternatively, you can request information from your destination country’s embassy or consulate.
  • You can only request a visa once you have been admitted by your host university.
  • Wait until your visa has been approved before buying your flight ticket, or make sure your ticket can be cancelled or changed.

Accommodation and contact details

  • In most cases, your host university will provide you with information or assistance in  finding accommodation. You might be offered a room on campus, or you may have to arrange your own accommodation via an intermediary. Take a look in the world map or on your host university’s website to find out about their procedures.
  • As soon as possible, enter your contact details abroad in the study abroad portal - in the ‘During your stay’ section. You will receive a reminder by email shortly before departure. It is essential that you keep your contact details updated whilst abroad so we can reach you in case of emergencies.


If you need to arrange your own accommodation, you could consider subletting a room from another student. HousingAnywhere is a handy, safe website through which you can search for accommodation, or sublet your own room whilst you are abroad. Always request advance permission from your landlord.


  • Find out about language requirements. For some universities you will need to take a language test such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Are you unsure if you speak a language well enough? The Academic Language Centre offers online tests to determine your level.
  • A great way to improve your language skills is to travel to your destination early and follow a language course there, time permitting. Alternatively, you can follow a language course at the Academic Language Centre.


  • Check with your health insurance provider whether you are fully covered for your period of study abroad, or whether top-up insurance is required. Be aware that some countries require you to take out local health insurance.
  • Take out travel and cancellation insurance to cover, for example, luggage, additional health costs, legal aid and liability. AON Student Insurance is a good example.
  • Find out if your insurance company has an emergency phone number. If so, keep it somewhere handy.

International student?

If you are an international student, you must also do the following before departure:

  • Contact the town hall where you are currently registered to ask if you need to cancel your registration.
  • Ask the Visa Team whether your stay abroad will have consequences for your Dutch residence permit (if applicable).
  • Ask your destination country’s embassy or consulate what visa procedures apply to you. Procedures for international students may not be the same as those for Dutch students.

International Discount Card

With an International Student Identity Card (ISIC card) you can get discount on a range of products and services in more than 130 countries, including flight tickets. Purchase your card from ISIC Netherlands.

Photo: Stijn Kuipers
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