Having the opportunity to do an exchange program in Leiden University is something that I have been dreaming of since my first year (not to mention that Leiden University Law School is on top 25 Law School in the world according to QS Ranking). The semester system runs differently in Leiden Law School. Each semester is divided into two blocks of approximately 10-12 weeks and there will only be a final exam on every end of the block. If by any chance a student fails to reach the passing grade (for the final accumulated grade), he/she can do retake on final exam.
I eventually experienced the studying-abroad-myths, that the students are the one who is actively studying. If we do not come prepared to class, there is no chance to follow the class in a good pace. Professors and lecturers are also very accommodating with questions and inquiries especially when reviewing our exams. Furthermore, one of the benefits of doing an exchange program in the same country where ICJ is seated is that we get to be inside the court. A friend and I managed to seat in the last public hearing of Ukraine v. Russian Case on February. I also got the chance to do a field trip to Netherlands Forensic Institute.
Doing an exchange program is not only about experiencing the formal academic program. I joined a buddy program organized by an international student organization here where my buddy took a me and other exchange students to various local events like Carnaval week in Breda and King’s Day Celebration in Den Haag.
I was actively volunteering for various occasion organized by an organization called nederlandscare. I helped to cook and have dinner with the elders at an elderly house in Utrecht and teach at an evening school for mentally disabled people once. I also managed to be more dedicated to help with a dance event for disabled elderly called Het Danspaleis in Rotterdam for the entire June.
Another highlights of my “extracurricular” activity was volunteering as an organizing team of TEDxAmsterdamEd which was held on May 31th, 2017. It was an independent organized TED talks about education where students, professors, parents, practitioners, or just normal civilian who is passionate about education meet. I was helping as a festival host in which I connected two strangers to get into a booth to discuss their vision, ideas, or comments on education. Majority of the volunteers were also students from around Europe. Beside the hard work and long hours of preparation, we got to mingle and network in the event which was super fun.
This exchange program has completed my study as a law student. It is, indeed, quite challenging and needing a hard and lot of work; but, at the end of the day, for all the new friends and colleagues that I have made, all the long hours in the library and retakes that I had to do and all the stress of doing my thesis pleading one day before I departed to the Netherlands, I would have not traded what I have experienced in the past 6 months with anything else.
Contributor : Michellina Suminto (031311133010 )