FAQ Owl 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you find answers frequently asked questions about the OWL Week
Use the search button located in the top right corner to search this page

for more general information you can visit the OWL University Website and read the “finding your way” pdf’s on the right side. 





How do i register for OWL

OWL participation is by invitation only. We invite all international students who are coming in new to start the fall semester at Leiden University. We use the official University database to target the intended students. We regularly update this list and re-send invitations.

I didn't receive an invitation, what do i do?

Don’t worry! Although we sent the first invitations in May, we regularly update and re-send the invitation. If your process of acceptance was delayed you might receive an invitation in a later stage. Please do make sure you have taken all the steps to complete your registration at Leiden University (what you need to do is stated in your acceptance letter).
You are advised to contact us if you have not received an invite by the 14th of August!

What is the deadline for registration for the Summer OWL '17?

The deadline for (online) registration is the 20th of August. After this you will have to come to the office to register at alotted times, to be published later. The MANUAL sign up is open @ PLEXUS from Friday 25 AUGUST(13:00-17:00), Saturday 26 AUGUST(13:00-17:00) and Sunday 27 AUGUST(14:00-17:00).

How do I cancel/deregister from Orientation Week?

You can receive a full refund for your participants fee if you sent us an email informing us of your cancellation before August 20th.
After this deadline a refund is no longer possible.

We will send you a confirmation after we received your cancellation email!!

There are no refunds possible for the dorm and any additional purchases, or for the Leidse Pas. You can pick up additional purchases during the OWL or within 3 weeks after the OWL.

Please note: All refunds need to be claimed and all ordered products need to be picked up within 3 weeks after the end of the OWL


I have to cancel but the cancellation deadline of August 20th has passed already. What happens now?

If you cancel/deregister after this date we can no longer offer you a refund as we have started to finalize orders and started spending the fees. But please do inform us so we can inform our Guides and we can get in touch with you about picking up useful information.

How do I report changes?

If you have relevant changes that will affect your participation in the Orientation week (namely change of e-mail address or course/faculty), please let us know as soon as possible by sending an email to: participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl.

I signed up but haven't heard anything yet

Because we keep the online registration open until the 20th of August, we won’t be able to form or finalize the groups until after that date. Therefor you will only receive an email with additional information one week prior to the start of the OWL.


Is it mandatory to participate in the Orientation Week?

“Leiden University strongly recommends you to participate in the Orientation Week Leiden. It will give you a head start in both your academic and social life here in Leiden.”
– mr. Drs. H.W. te Beest, Deputy Chairman Executive Board, Leiden University

The university considers the OWL programme to be mandatory. This is because of the many advantages that the programme offers to students who do take part. To name a few:
• You are introduced to your faculty, study and fellow students
• You get acquainted with the city of Leiden and the whereabouts of the university
• All the facilities for international students are introduced, ranging from student associations to counselors and student advisers
• Experience has shown that OWL participants feel more at home, have a larger social network to fall back on and are also more likely to be successful in their study goals.
• It’s great fun and gives you the chance to meet a lot of new people!
If there is an urgent reason why you can’t fully participate, please contact the OWL committee and see what can be arranged. If it is not possible for you to join the programme at all, it is regrettable but there are no consequences.

What programmes are offered in the fall term?

In the fall term (start in August) there are 3 introduction programmes that the university offers. The OWL is the introduction for new International students to Leiden. If you are a Dutch Master student or a Bachelor student starting a full International Bachelor, you are welcome to join this programme as well. Please check out the University website for details:
Leiden University Introduction Programmes.

Can someone who is not a student but who will be accompanying/visiting me during the OWL also join? (parents/partners/family etc)

No, we are very sorry but the OWL Week is organised only for registered and accepted students of the Leiden University.

Is it possible to participate fewer days?

We strongly recommend that you participate the whole programme, since you will have the opportunity to arrange your administrative affairs during this week and learn to find your way around Leiden and the University buildings. Besides, we have made the programme fun and interesting! If you have to miss (a substantial) part of the programme, please let us know in advance through the registration form or by emailing to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

What would be useful/necessary to have with me during the OWL?

• Your group number and the emergency phone number of the OWL organisation.
• Money (cash/debitcard/creditcard).
• ID-card or Passport.
• Raincoat/umbrella/ warm clothes.
• Medicine (if needed).
Also to keep with you:
• Wristband (provided by us at the registration) – keep it on for the duration of the OWL Week: You will need to show it at several parts of the programme!
• Your meal coupons (provided by us at registration) – if you lose them or forget them you have to buy new ones
• Programme booklet (provided by us at registration) – contains lots of useful information about the OWL

I'm late! Who do I contact?

If you are going to be late for the registration on Monday the 28th of August, let us know as soon as possible by e-mail to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl.

If you are late signing up (online registration closes on the 20th ofAugust) you can still join! You can come to the registration desk at Plexus Student Centre (Kaiserstraat 25, Leiden) to register and pay in person. Our Coordination Team will help you on your way.

If you have already registered, met your guides and you are going to be late during the week, inform your guides.

I have a question/problem during the OWL. Who do I contact?

During the week we have the OWL headquarters set up at Plexus Student Center. A Coordination Team will be available to help you by answering your emails, phone calls and in person.
The contact details will be in the information email you receive just before the start of the OWL and it will be in the programme booklet you receive at the beginning of the week. Your Guide can also help you to arrange things or bring you to the CT.
If you have questions before the start of the week you can email us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

Travel from Schiphol airport to Leiden

The cheapest and fastest way to travel from Schiphol Airport to Leiden is by train. At Schiphol Airport, the train station is situated underneath the Schiphol Plaza in the central hall of the terminal. You will also find the ticket desks and ticket machines in the central hall. A one-way ticket (enkele reis) costs about €5,80. Direct trains to Leiden run every fifteen minutes and the journey takes around 20 minutes.

You can check out the site to plan your journey or book your e-ticket in advance. Please follow this LINK.

Travel by taxi
A taxi from Schiphol to Leiden is rather pricy:
If you book beforehand (cheapest way) it will be around €60,-

Taxicentrale Schiphol.

Taxis and buses are located just outside Leiden Central Station.
(The taxi fare to the city centre is approximately € 8.)

Payment & Costs

How much does it cost to participate in the Orientation Week Programme?

The participation in Summer OWL ’17 costs €80,- The OWL is self-funding which means we get very limited financial support from the University and have to find our own funding and use participants fees to organise the OWL week. Lunches and dinners are included during the OWL.

What else will I need money for during the week?

Besides the OWL itself you will also find options to sign up for a Leidse Pas.
And if you don’t have a place to stay you can book a space at our dorm.
During the OWL week you can buy or lease a bike, attend the PubCrawl, sign up for clubs at the infomarket, buy a ticket for the end party by ISN and buy a sports card
You can find more information on these extra options on the website and in the programme booklet. During the week you can buy OWL tokens. They are the only way to pay for additional foods and drinks. We use tokens for safety reasons and to limit the amount of cash during the week.

How do I register?

Registration for the Summer OWL ’17 will open in May. You will receive an invitation through email with information and a link to sign up.
If you are a starting international student and you didn’t receive an invitation yet, check that you completed your registration for the University! We regularly update our system and re-send invitations. If you haven’t received your invite by the 14th of August or if you are worried or you have questions, you can contact us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

My payment failed. What should I do?

In case your payment fails or your credit card is not accepted, please try again.
If you are still not able to complete your payment, you can email us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl.

Groups & Guides

When will I receive more information about my group/guides/programme?

The programme of the OWL Week is on the website! Have a look and know what to expect during the week.
A couple of days prior to the start of the Orientation Week we will send you an e-mail with more information. You will receive the names and contact details for your guides, your group number and you will be informed about your first meeting point with your group.

Can I change groups because I know someone who is in another group?

AFTER you have received your group number it is NO longer possible to change groups.
You can let us know beforehand that you would like to be in the same group as someone you know by emailing to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl
As long as you belong to the same faculty it should be no problem.
If you have been assighned to a group that is not from your faculty, please inform us as soon as possible!!

What is the difference between a Leiden United Buddy, an ISN Mentor and an OWL Guide?

• Leiden United Buddy: Leiden United has a buddy programme that is aimed at integrating international students in the Leiden student community. You will be paired up with a local student who will be following the same course. He or she will introduce you to the active and vibrant student life that Leiden has to offer, as well as giving you the chance to build up an academic network.
• ISN Mentor: A mentor welcomes international students when they arrive at Leiden (Central Station) and help them settle in during the first days/weeks after their arrival. Mentors can help the students by guiding them through the city of Leiden and answering possible questions the students have when starting their study at the university. Besides the informational part, the program also offers a great opportunity to organize social activities with your group and make friends.
• OWL-Guide: OWL-Guides play an important role during the Orientation Week. Two guides accompany a group of international students and help coordinate the activities of the group. Being an OWL-guide only takes one (intensive) week, while being an ISN mentor/Leiden United Buddy can last for the whole semester.

Diet Restrictions & Allergies

I have food allergies/dietary wishes can I still participate in the lunches/dinners during the OWL?

We try our hardest to accommodate for allergies/dietary wishes during the Orientation Week. If you have a serious food allergy or strict diet you can let us know by emailing to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl. Please do so as soon as possible after your registration so we can take it into consideration while planning the OWL Week.

I am a vegetarian can I still participate in the meals provided by the event?

We are making extra sure that suitable meals are provided for vegetarians. Please do not forget to correctly fill in the registration form, or to let us know by email that you are a vegetarian. This way we can take it into consideration when planning the OWL Week.

note: the meat we serve during the week is of good quality


I have a disability, can I still participate in the OWL?

Yes, you can still register for the Orientation Week. Let us know (via email to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl ) about your disability as soon as possible. This will allow us to take your needs into consideration. We will always make sure that you are placed within a group with experienced and competent Guides. Also, keep in mind that you are not obliged to participate in every single activity. However, please inform your guides if you decide not to participate in an event. If you have any doubts or questions you can contact us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl


I have not found suitable accommodation yet/my housing contract is from the 1st of September onward. What are my options?

For participants who want to join the OWL but have no place to stay, the OWL Committee has arranged for a special night dorm that we set up for the participants during the week. Please note that the dorm is only available to the OWL participants. You can find the dorm registration on the OWL registration/payment form. Please be aware that we have a limited space at the dorm. You can only reserve a place if you book it together with the OWL registration.

Do I need to bring my own air mattress/sleeping bag to the participants' night dorm?

Registrants of the dorm are required to bring their own mattress and sleeping bag.
We offer a limited amount of sleeping bags and air mattresses: a sleeping bag costs 12,50€ and an air mattress 10€. You can keep them afterwards as these are selling prices, not rental. These you can pre-order along with your dorm fee. Check out the night dorm for more info.

What are my other options?

If you haven’t been able to arrange accommodation during the OWL (or after), you still have various options to find a place to sleep in time:

1. Regularly check the OWL & ISN Facebook pages and join Facebook groups like” Rooms/Housing & Furniture Leiden University” Here you can post messages to students already living in Leiden who might have a suitable place for you during the OWL(and after)!

2. Book the StayOK hostel in The Hague (only 12 minutes from Leiden by train). It is the cheapest Hostel/Hotel option around Leiden.

3. Sign up for Couchsurfing. With Couchsurfing, you can stay with locals in every country all over the world or make use of the Airbnb.

4. Check the info in the Finding your way pdf-guide or the pre-departure pages on the University homepage for more tips

5. Book a hotel in or nearby Leiden. You can find the best deals on Trivago.com or Booking.com

Can I get a refund for the dorm if i find my own accommodation after all?

No refunds are possible for cancelling the night dorm due to the first come first serve policy.
For the sleeping bags and air mattress there are also no refunds. You can pick those up at the dorm during the OWL or at the OWL office/Plexus, after the OWL week.

I forgot to book the dorm together with my OWL registration. Can i still reserve a place?

You can still book the dorm and additional products on the condition that there is still room and you already registered for OWL. You can do so by contacting us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

Is my luggage safe at the dorm?

We try our utmost to keep your belongings safe during the week: We have a separate locked off room for big items. The dorm room is locked during the day except for supervised fixed time slots. You can use lockers for easy access to (small) things at all times.

Do i get a private room at the dorm?

The dorm is based at the University Sports Centre and consists of 2 sports rooms that have been reserved for the purpose of sleeping. You can fix your air mattress and sleeping bag and leave them there for the duration of the week. It is a simple but safe and cheap solution we offer for our “homeless” OWL participants. We offer a male-only and female-only dorm – if this poses a problem for you, please let us know at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

I'm not joining the OWL but i still need a place to stay. Can i stay at the dorm?

The dorm is exclusively for confirmed participants of the OWL. Check out the tab for other options