Leiden through the eyes of.... Sergiu Gherghina
Sergiu Gherghina arrived in Leiden in 2006, having taken his master's in Political Science at Central European University (Budapest): 'I enjoyed every moment in Leiden.'
'I started my studies at Leiden University with a two-year MPhil in Institutional Analysis at the Department of Political Science (with the financial support of the Praesidium Libertatis Fund) and then pursued a PhD in Political Science at the same Department (2008-2011). My reasons for choosing Leiden were primarily academic. The Political Science Department has an excellent reputation in Europe, it provided an educational curriculum that fits my interests, and there were many professors I could have worked with.'
'It's hard to find many similarities, but there are quite a few differences: small group seminars (with an emphasis on students), intensive methods training, demanding bibliography, interactive courses, opportunities to present your work in various settings, support for external conferences, and, more important, open communication between professors and students.'
'In the beginning, quite challenging and difficult as there were many things to be sorted out, and the International Office was not always able to help. After two or three months, things got back to normal and I started enjoying the academic and cultural life of the city. I greatly enjoyed every moment spent in this vivid and entertaining university and town. People are friendly, relaxed, and organised at the same time – a rare combination.'
'Marvellous! It's full of life both during the day and at night (with the exception of the holidays). I greatly enjoyed the fresh air, the student atmosphere, canal boat trips, Hortus Botanicus, museums, beautiful landscapes, and the excellent position relative to the Hague and Amsterdam.'
'Leiden is a multicultural city, which has a lot of benefits. Student life in Leiden allows for opportunities to meet many international and Dutch students. The language was not a barrier (due to the language skills of Dutch students) so I had no problem feeling welcome wherever I went (although this is something that some international students complain about). I attended a few debates and live concerts in pubs. The museums of Leiden were quite appealing and I visited each of them several times. I have been to a few cultural events during my studies in Leiden, but mostly in the Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam, all of which are within easy distance of Leiden.'
'Hard to summarise, but let’s try a few keywords: academic performance, intellectual challenges, rich cultural experience, friendly environment (both in academia and outside), and relaxation.'
'It was unusual to have my documents lost by the International Office upon my arrival in 2006. It was also unusual to have to struggle to find a house, although this seems to be a common problem in the Netherlands. Apart from these, there were way too many funny moments to remember or point to a specific one. But funny in a positive way.'
(14 May 2012 / Sergiu Gherghina / MLH)