The weather in the Netherlands is pretty similar to England, which means that November sees bitter cold, lots of rain and darkness at 4pm. Most people who live close enough for a short visit home went after our block 1 exams, but as I chose to travel instead, the change in weather brought homesickness with it. Luckily I had already booked flights home for a weekend in the middle of the month (tip: book your winter flights early- the prices go up disproportionately!) and the short trip to see my friends and family, and have some home comforts was exactly the refresher I needed.
In London the Christmas feeling hits as soon as Halloween is over. The lights go on, shops play Christmas albums on loop and all the ads are geared towards the holiday. In Leiden it’s a little different- I tried to change the playlist at the restaurant where I work to Bublé and it was not received well. Add this to the minimal daylight hours and November is a bit of a miserable month. It does mean, however, that there’s a lot more focus on studies, and since I am taking four modules this block (to make up for only taking two last block), this is most definitely a good thing.
I would say by November you are well and truly settled in your new environment. It’s more of the same, and I’m used to it by now. Since there is nothing new to report, I’ll take this time to talk a little bit about the modules themselves. This block I am taking ‘Introduction to Children’s Rights’, ‘Law, Development and Innovation in China’, ‘Comparative Tort Law’, and continuing with ‘European Labour Law’ from block 1. (The course textbook for Comparative Tort Law is written by Cees Van Dam, by whom we have the privilege of being taught at King’s!). Children’s Rights is especially interesting because each week we have a guest lecturer, so far it has been a member of the UN Committee of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a member of the Committee on the African Charter. The China module is also fascinating because of the way law and development in China are so linked, and that it is relatively modern history that we are able to study.
Each module leader chooses their own method of examination, which means that you have a lot of different things to do at any given time- one module requires a group presentation for a percentage of the grade, one requires a research essay, one is 100% exam, and so on. It’s not as stressful as it sounds because I have mentioned in previous posts, the short blocks mean that there is relatively not much course content. I also feel like there is a lot more peer support on Erasmus (or I might have just been lucky with my group of friends)- since everything is new to everyone, and no one is actively pursuing other thing (Vacation Scheme applications etc) we really are all in the same boat, and people are really interested in studying together. It’s going to be really sad when all the one semester exchange students go home for good.