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LExS scholarships: an unforgettable experience

Witch, belly dancer or astronaut. That’s just a few of the things that the international students who have just been awarded a Leiden University Excellence Scholarship (LExS) wanted to be when they were children. Instead, they were awarded a LExS certificate on Monday 2 September.

Excellent international students

LExS is a scholarship for a full-time master’s programme that is awarded to excellent international students. The 63 ambitious recipients of a scholarship for 2019-2020 come from 28 countries all around the world. 

Special scholarship

The recipients gathered in the small auditorium in the Academy Building. It was clear they had been looking forward to this moment: they all looked fabulous. Vice-Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl welcomed them and emphasised how special it is to be awarded a LExS scholarship: of the 1,100 applicants, only 63, around 6%, have been awarded a scholarship. The LExS students will make an important contribution to society later on in life.

Jeroen ’t Hart, Director of the Student and Educational Affairs Expertise Centre, awarded the students their certificates, and LExS coordinator, Mariëlle van Es, congratulated them in their own language. The parents in attendance proudly watched their talented offspring.

Improve children’s rights

The students’ answers to a number of questions, such as what they had wanted to be as a child and their current career plans, were projected in the background. Childhood dreams such as becoming a witch, belly dancer or astronaut had given way to other ambitious plans. These often focused on the students’ home countries, such as developing a better water-purification programme in Colombia, improving children’s rights in India and setting up an affordable health-care system in South Africa.

Second-year LExS student, Sadreddin Metin, spoke about his time in the Netherlands. He encouraged the new LExS students to make their studies at Leiden University an unforgettable experience and above all to make lots of new friends from all around the world.

Business cards

Once the certificates had been awarded and a group photo taken, it was time for some networking. The students had also received business cards, the idea being that they could exchange these with the other scholarship recipients. Thanks to this ice breaker, the networking got off to a friendly start, and the foundations were laid for friendships that will last during their studies in Leiden and their further professional and personal life.

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