Leiden – It was a much-cherished moment to attend Leiden University’s Open Day, 13 October 2018. I accompanied one of our students, Jasmijn who has shown keen interest to pursue a BSc programme in Bio-Farmaceutische Wetenschappen (BFW) at the University. Although she will complete her Senior High School in May 2020, Jasmijn thought it might be important to secure head-on information beforehand. At the BFW, she wishes to conduct medicinal research partly to scientifically investigate certain herbal and traditional healing materials from Mukomuko of Sumatra, the birthplace of her father who has consigned her with the Medicinal Enigma of Mukomuko, ISBN: 978-94-90633-10-3.
The introduction session to the BFW was organised early in the morning in the Grote Zaal of the Stadsgehoorzaal on the Breestraat, Leiden. The programme was presented by the BFW’s Student Ambassador, Stijn Colijn, a third year student of the department. Stijn did not only excellently introduce the programme but also about the future academic or professional prospects of its graduates.
The seats in the Grote Zaal that could accommodate around 838 visitors were fully occupied by VWO or Senior High School students whom each could be accompanied by one chaperon or parent. Even the galleries were also full. It reflected a high public excitement toward the BFW programme. The organisation of the event was professionally and well organised. For more information about studying at Leiden University in general, after the BFW’s presentation, we called on the information booths inside the Pieterskerk nearby. Here all of your questions related to studying in Leiden at any offered disciplines could receive satisfying explanations.
We visited the Academiegebouw afterwards just to show Jasmijn that inside the originally Dominican monastery, Leiden’s PhD promotions usually take place. From thence on, we dropped in the Lipsius gebouw, the complex where I, as a Leidenaar, used to study in late 1990s. Walking on the Paterbrug, we crossed the Witte Singel toward the P.N. van Eyckhof complex and Leiden University Library. Then we returned to Cleveringaplaats through the Reuvensbrug near the KITLV and back to the cutting-edge and subterranean car park near Molenwerf through Binnenvestgracht. Despite it was a lightning visit to Leiden, yet it was greatly inspiring for Jasmijn and, to me, it aroused homecoming feeling.
Like Technische Universiteit Delft, and nowadays Erasmus University and University of Groningen, Leiden University has been one of the preferred European universities by the alumni of the Indonesian School of The Hague (SIDH) when they decided to pursue tertiary study in Europe. Our alumni who so decided have studied—one whom I know is now completing his Master degree—at Leiden University either at first, second or top (doctorate) tiers.
We closed our trip to Leiden University that day with confidence that this institution cum town is not only a truly suitable place to study but also unique for many Indonesians due to our past relationship: Leiden Indologie-opleiding and the Dutch East Indies. We hope this connection—in modern understanding and context—will persevere.