Just for kicks, I thought I would share a bit of my experience with going to Holland for my Master’s degree, as a Canadian student. Maybe my domestic Master’s students friends can tell me if it’s really the fault of my being an international student or if all grad departments are seriously like this?
1. Let’s start with the obvious. I have to pay 15.000 Euros to go to school for a year. If I don’t complete my thesis/degree within the year, I have to pay a 3.000 Eur fine AND 15.000 to write for another year.
2. But that’s not the fun part. The fun started AFTER I swallowed the reality that I’m going to be in scary private-loan hell for a long time after next year. Because then came the time to deal with…
3. The Administration
I was assigned an international coordinator to deal with all of the shit I had to do in order to actually GO to school in September. The problem is that he’s either stupid or way too paranoid.
I’ve had approximately three months of receiving from him every few days a question along the lines of: “So when are you graduating exactly? I thought you said you already graduated. But I don’t have your diploma. Why? Are you lying?”
This question alone is the reason I want to tear my hair out when I think about Leiden sometimes. There’s also the added fun of
4. The Visa
Apparently Leiden thinks it is more important than all the other universities (e.g. Maastricht) because its list of required documents for the residence permit is about 8x as long and more precise and complex. I had to run around for a week getting together papers, and my poor boyfriend even had to procure some (very authentic ;)) documents from friends of friends of friends.
Anyway, after I got all that shit together, I had to answer the aforementioned question about five more times before the guy finally sent in my application (two weeks later than planned). And then the best part happened!
The immigration people kindly informed me that while they really should kick me out of the country, they will allow me to wait for 3 weeks for them to receive my application, after which I will be sort of legal again… under the condition that I don’t move around too much, or make any trouble, or leave the EU.
So basically Leiden University better be fucking worth it.