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.

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. Ask your study adviser what steps you should take.  

Mandatory number of credits

Do you have to earn a mandatory number of credits during your stay abroad? If so, check carefully on your host university’s website how many courses you will need to follow. For university-wide exchange, you can also find this information in the factsheets on the Blackboard page Study Abroad Outside of Europe. To access this information, log in, then click on 'enrol' in the left-hand menu. If you can’t find the information you need, or if you are going on exchange via your faculty or programme, request information from your international exchange coordinator.

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.

Visa

  • 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

  • In most cases, you 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. Visit your host university’s website to find out about their procedures.
  • For university-wide exchange, you can also find information on the Blackboard page Study Abroad Outside of Europe. Here you can read about how other students arranged their accommodation abroad. To access this information, log in, then click on 'enrol' in the left-hand menu. 
  • If you are you going on exchange via your faculty or programme, take a look under your faculty or programme tab for more information about accommodation.

Subletting

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.

Language

  • 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. Alternatively, you can follow a language course at the Academic Language Centre.

Insurance

  • 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.
  • Consider taking 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.

Health and safety

Carefully read the health and safety information and take any necessary steps before departure.

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

Once you have been awarded a study place abroad, you should carefully consider which courses you want to follow, whether these can be counted towards your Leiden studies and how they will appear on your transcript.

Recognition of study credits

You can have the credits you earn aboard recognised in the following ways: 

Courses followed abroad can be counted as elective credits within your bachelor’s programme. Be aware that the following conditions apply: 

  • The course must part of an accredited study programme at the university abroad.
  • The course may not cover a subject that you have already covered in a course within your Leiden curriculum.
  • If the course is less than 5 EC, you must obtain advance permission from the International Exchange Coordinator before you follow the course.
  • If you will follow a language course, the course must be an official part of a degree programme at the university abroad, or a compulsory course for study-abroad students. Courses followed at university language centres cannot be counted as elective credits. Check the status of any language courses in advance with the Office for International Education.

Courses followed abroad can be counted as extra-curricular credits. Notify the Office for International Education before departure if you would like to make use of this option. Be aware that the following conditions apply:

  • The course must be part of an accredited study programme at the university abroad
  • The course may not cover a subject that you have already covered in a course within your Leiden curriculum
  • If the course is less than 5 EC, you must obtain advance permission from the International Exchange Coordinator before you follow the course.
  • If you will follow a language course, the course must be an official part of a degree programme at the university abroad, or a compulsory course for study-abroad students. Courses followed at university language centres cannot be counted as elective credits. Check the status of any language courses in advance with the Office for International Education. 

You can request permission to replace a course on your Leiden curriculum with a course followed abroad. To do so, submit a request to the coordinator of the Leiden course in question at least two months before you plan to follow the course abroad. Include the following in your request:     

  • Title of the course abroad
  • Literature covered
  • Amount of study credits
  • Course level

Once you have obtained the lecturer’s approval, notify the Office for International Education so they can enter the information into uSis. Be aware that you are solely responsibility for looking into options for replacing courses and gaining the lecturer’s approval. Note that master’s students may replace a maximum of 10 ECs. 

Credits earned after graduation: Bachelor and Master students

If you study abroad after completing your Leiden degree, you can receive a certificate showing the credits you earned abroad on condition that you remain registered as a degree student at Leiden University during your studies abroad. You can request the certificate from the Law School’s Education Administration department.

No grade conversion!

Be aware that as of 2019, the grades you earn for your courses abroad will no longer be converted to Dutch grades on your transcript. Instead they will be indicated as ‘passed’.

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