The Netherlands is such a beautiful country, and I can't think of a better place for me to have chosen to complete my studies.
Leiden, especially - which is where I have been living for the past year or so - is a lovely city filled with friendly people who are always willing to help.
During my first year at Uni. I lived in the dorms and had (in my opinion) the best view of Leiden from my bedroom window. The dorms face one of the canals here and a few of the bigger boats that I've seen since I moved here are docked right opposite my window. They are the first thing I see when I draw my curtains open in the morning and the last thing I see when I draw them shut in the evening. And I can't think of a better way to start and end my day than that.😊
As fate would have it, the view from my window worked to my advantage, as I ended up taking photography courses and it turned out to be the perfect spot to practice what I was learning in class.
Speaking of photography , I have to emphasize how significant the degree I chose is to the experience I've had so far in the Netherlands...
Years ago, I was telling a friend of mine about something discouraging that had happened to me recently. He sympathized with me, but couldn't really help me solve my problem. Instead, he used an example of his own experience that started off badly but ended up working in his favour to encourage me; and he ended his story by telling me to trust God's timing. I dismissed his words at the time, because I didn't think they applied to my situation, but I had a feeling that they would stay with me and might even come to mean something to me some time in the future...
It looks like that times is now!
By the time I was making the decision to study at Webster University in Leiden, I was planning to choose Sociology as my major. I had taken it at college for two years and had really enjoyed it. What's more, I was good at it, so I figured, Why not?
But after that, I re-discovered my love for writing after a long dry spell and became interested in photography as well. Soon after, Webster University stopped offering Sociology as a degree; and out of the remaining degree options, Media & Communications is the only one that made sense to me.
To cut a long story short, I eventually came to Webster University in Leiden to study Media & Communications - and the rest is history! 😊
Shortly after moving to the Netherlands, I remembered what my friend had told me about timing. And suddenly it all made sense. Going by the experience of choosing which degree to take, I truly believe that Webster's decision to no longer offer Sociology came at the right time - just after I'd realized where my true interests lie, therefore, leading me to the right course. What I didn't mention before is that this didn't happen overnight. If I remember correctly, one or two semesters had passed by the time I was changing my degree to Media & Communications.
As a Christian, it's hard not to notice God's hand in the whole matter. I could give you many more examples of how me being here now has proved that God's timing really is best, but that's a whole other blog post. 😉
For now, I'll just conclude by saying that the Netherlands - particularly Leiden - will always hold a special place in my heart.
With that said, I'll leave you with a few pictures of Leiden city, and my *5 Tips When Planning A Visit To Leiden:
1. If you're coming to Leiden from Amsterdam Airport Schipol, come by train. Not only is the trip fast, but it's also cheap (about €5).
2. If you're planning to stay at a hotel, look into the ones near Leiden Centraal Station. The Station is the central part of the city and is also close to Jumbo, one of the main supermarkets there as well as some of the nicer restaurants in the city.
3. Carry some extra money for a boat ride. There are a number of canals throughout the city, and going on a boat ride is a great way to tour this beautiful place.
4. Try visiting in early October so that you can experience Leiden Ontzet. It's a Dutch festival that takes place in Leiden every year on the 3rd of October, and it's a great way to not only learn about the city's history but to also experience the Dutch culture.
5. If you can't visit in October, then try visiting between March and May. This is when the tulip fields in Lisse are in full bloom. Lisse is only a busride away from Leiden, and is definitely worth visiting while you're in the area.