FAQ WinterOwl 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you find answers frequently asked questions about the OWL Week
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Online OWL

How exactly is OWL online?

Due to the global pandemic the Winter OWL 2021 will be an online programme. Online OWL is a platform we created in the form of an app. This app can be downloaded from the app store and is available for IOS and Android. It is downloadable on mobile devices but also on laptops and desktops. We will offer virtual activities and livestreams through this app. A few days prior to the start of OWL we will send all registered participants an email with access to the app and a short instruction.

Online OWL groups

We will put all participants in groups of between 10-14 people based on faculty/study phase. The groups will be guided by our volunteers who are experienced students. We hope this will connect you to some future classmates and give you some support and guidance as a new student.


What exactly is the WinterOWL?

Owl stands for Orientaion Week Leiden and is the introduction programme for all new international students to Leiden University. Besides the WinterOWl which takes place in January, just before the start of the spring semester, there is also a SummerOWL for students starting in the fall semester.

What programmes are offered in the spring term?

In summer, before the start of the fall semester, there are 3 introduction programmes available:
-EL CID for Dutch Bachelor students studying in Leiden
-OWL for all international students starting their studies in Leiden
-HOP for all students (both Dutch and international) following their courses in The Hague
Before the start of the spring term (start in February 2021) there is only the OWL Programme. As some new students are starting their spring programme in The Hague, a part of their programme will be aimed at The Hague.

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
• 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 it is not possible for you to join the programme at all, it is very regrettable but there are no consequences.

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 by chat.
There is also a daily Q&A with the OWL board between 17.00-18.00 hrs.
The contact details will be in the information email you receive just before the start of the OWL and it will be available in the app. Your online Guide can also help you. If you have questions before the start of the week you can email us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

Physical OWL

There is a small chance that the lockdown that is in place until the 19th of January will be lifted during OWL week. In that case we will try to organize some activities for those participants who indicated that they will be in the Netherlands per the 16th of January. (10 day quarantine is mandatory) We asked everyone to indicate on the registration form if this would be the case and we would communicate any information on that directly to these participants.


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 Spring semester at Leiden University. We use the official University database to target the intended students. We regularly update this list and re-send invitations.

What if i missed the deadline for online registration for the Winter OWL 2021?

The deadline for (online) registration is the 15th of January 2021. PLEASE SIGN UP IN TIME! After this we will close online registration as we will be very busy finalizing the online groups and programme. You can send an email request to participate to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl. We will start adding late sign ups when time allows.

Does this invitation mean i have been accepted to Leiden University?

The invitation is in no way an official confirmation of acceptance to Leiden University. We take our information from the database and invite anyone who has applied, regardless of acceptance or not. We do this because the acceptance procedure is sometimes lengthy or halted due to administrative delays and we don’t want anyone to miss out because of this.

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

Although we sent the first invitations in December, 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 10th of January!

I started in September but i missed Summer OWL. Can i still join Winter OWL?

If you were invited to join Summer OWL, it means you are no longer a new student starting for the first time in Leiden.
The OWL is meant to provide a good start to students who have just arrived in Leiden so it is not possible to join the OWL if you are not part of the new group starting in February.
If you want to meet (new) people you can sign up to be Guide or Crew or join the ESN organisation so you can attend their activities.

How do I cancel/deregister from Orientation Week?

We do not give refunds for cancelling WinterOWL 2021. If you wish to deregister you can send an email to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl. We will inform your guide that you will no longer be joining the online group.

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 15th of January, we won’t be able to form or finalize the groups until the week after that date. Therefor you will only receive an email with additional information and access to the app a few days prior to the start of the OWL..

Payment & Costs

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

The participation in Winter OWL ’21 costs €5,-
This goes towards the costs of the platform and livestreams

How do I register?

Registration for the Winter OWL ’21 will open end of December. 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 10th of January 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.