Study Abroad: Netherlands

Anna Samoilova talked to Elizaveta Shershneva about her international study experience.

Study Abroad: Netherlands

Elizaveta Shershneva, a student of Communication, Media and Design, shares her emotions and views on studying abroad.

What is the country you chose to study as an exchange student?

Leiden, The Netherlands in Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities. 

Why did you choose this country for your study?

I chose the Netherlands because it is the great country with unforgettable architecture and special atmosphere. I’ve heard a lot about Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam, and other Dutch pretty cities. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this small buildings, beautiful canals and variety of tulips. And the main reason, of course, is the university where I study now. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands with great history. It is famous not only among local citizens but also worldwide.

Tell us, please, about the procedure of application. Was it difficult for you?

Yes, it was really nervous. I had to collect a million documents and signatures, draw up an individual curriculum, constantly monitor the status of the application. I am very grateful to the student office for helping me get through this difficult path.

What was the most difficult thing in preparing for leaving for another country?

Unfortunately, my university does not provide a student residence, so I had to find the accommodation on my own. It was really difficult especially by this huge distance. Leiden is a city for students, that’s why all housing has already been booked. My advice for all students- if your university does not provide any housing than you should find it as soon as possible, because the sooner it is to your leaving the less options you can find.

How did your adaptation go?

I've been here for almost a month, so I think that so far, my adaptation is great. Of course, at the beginning it was scary. It seemed for me something unknown. To my mind, this move meant a complete breakdown of all patterns and ideas about life. Leiden and Moscow are completely two different cities with two different vibes. The most difficult thing is that you move to another country and you do not know anyone here. Sometimes you can feel the language barrier, but it disappears after a few weeks. You need time to get used to the rules of the new country. In the beginning I was surprised that shops and pharmacies may not work for a long time, that it will be necessary to open an account with a local bank, and so on. Well, you will never know until you try.

What is the main difference between educational process in the Higher School of Economics and Leiden University?

Educational systems are pretty the same, but here is an advanced electronic training system: for example, there is a special blackboard where all lecture presentations are located, sometimes even in advance. This is great because you do not need to ask teachers to send a presentation separately after the lecture. Also, for all foreign students, a special orientation week is held here, where you can better learn how the university and the city are arranged, as well as make new friends. You can always turn to the student office for help, there is also a special help board where you can come and get support, both psychological and financial (in some emergency situations).

What advice do you want to give to those who are just about to submit their application?

Do not be afraid and challenge yourself! Apply for study abroad, do not wait for anything. Even if it seems scary and unknown, try it anyway, because this is your chance to discover your new facets!

Interview by
Anna Samoilova