FAQ Summer 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you find answers frequently asked questions about the OWL Week

For more general information you can visit the OWL University Website

What is OWL?

What is the OWL?

OWL stands for Orientation Week Leiden and is the introduction programme for new international students to Leiden University who will be taking their courses in Leiden. This year the OWL will take place from 29th of August to the 2nd of September.

Why should I attend OWL?

Although the OWL is not mandatory, we strongly advise you to attend this week in which we introduce new international students to The Netherlands, the city of Leiden, the University and to Dutch student life and everything it has to offer in general. You will also meet people from your study and many other people who are very open to making connections that might last a lifetime. You will be guided by experienced older students during this week who can also help you sort out practical matters. In short, the introduction programme helps to smoothen the start of your academic adventure in Leiden

What is the difference between OWL, HOP and EL CID?

Leiden University organizes 3 different weeks, each suited most to a specific target audience. The Dutch Bachelor students and students of Hogeschool Leiden (university of applied science) are invited to join ELCID, students who are going to attend the The Hague Campus are invited to join HOP, and International students who will study in Leiden are invited for OWL. For more information: IntroductionWeeks Leiden University

Covid 19

What are the Covid rules during OWL?

During OWL we will follow the government rules. If needed, we will adjust the programme to conform to those rules. We will put extra attention into hygiene and provide face masks, hand gel and tests at our Coordination Team desk.
We are working together in this with university, municipality and public health care organization GGD.
At this moment the basic rules are as follows:
-Disinfect/ wash your hands regularly
-Cough and sneeze in your elbow

If you start getting symptoms during the OWL, take a (self)-test as soon as possible! Free tests are provided at our Coordination Team desk.

Wearing a facemask is not mandatory, but everyone is free to wear one if it makes you feel more comfortable. We have facemasks available at our Coordination Team desk

What if i test positive for Covid shortly before or during OWL?

That would be really disappointing but it means you will not be able to join or continue joining OWL. Please make your way home as soon as possible as you need to quarantine for 10 days. Please contact the Coordination Team to inform us. We will answer any question you have and help you if needed.


How do i register for OWL

OWL participation is by invitation only. You will receive an invitation through email with information and a link to sign up.
At a later stage we will open up and make accessible all the information on the OWL APP. We invite all international students who are coming in new to start the fall 2022 semester at Leiden University. We use the official University database to target the intended students. We update this list weekly and re-send invitations throughout the summer. The deadline is the 15th of August 2022.

What is the deadline for registration?

The deadline for signing up is the 15th of August. The deadline for full refunds is the 20th of July. After this date we will be making payments and orders and therefore spending the fees. no refunds will be possible. Check “how do I cancel/deregister from Orientation Week” for details

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

The participation in OWL is E95,-
The invitation email includes a link that takes you to a registration form; you need to complete the form and fulfill the payment to complete registration. Our system accepts all major credit cards and IDEAL as ways of payment.

What else can I sign up for?

Besides the OWL itself you will also find options to sign up for a Leidse Pas and a USC Sports Card
Note: These additional purchases are only intended for participants who sign up for the OWL week

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.
If you are still awaiting a decision on acceptance, we urge you to consider carefully before signing up! We offer refunds until the 13th of July, after this we will be spending the fees and full refunds are no longer possible.

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

Don’t worry! Although we sent the first invitations in June, we regularly update and re-send the invitation. If your process of acceptance was delayed you might receive an invitation at 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 beginning of August as the deadline is the 15th of August.

How do I cancel/deregister from Orientation Week?

Once you paid the fee, your registration is final.
If you wish to cancel from OWL because you won’t be attending Leiden University, please send an email to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl.
There are no full refunds possible after July 20th for the fee and any additional purchases (Leidse Pas and USC Sports card):
If academic or personal changes occurred between your time of registration and the actual OWL, preventing you from being able to study at Leiden university at all, let us know asap. We advise you to wait until you are sure of your status before signing up for OWL. If you are not sure about your status before the deadline of August 15th, and that deadline is approaching rapidly, you can contact us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl . For personal changes you can also send us an email.

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. Was there a problem with my registration?

Because we keep the online registration open until the 15th of August, we won’t be able to form or finalize the groups until the week after that date. Therefore you will only receive an email with additional information and access to sign in to the App a few days prior to the start of the OWL.

Can someone who is not a student but who will be accompanying 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 Leiden University.

I missed OWL before when I came in new to Leiden. Can I join this Summer OWL 2022?

If you were invited to join a previous 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 September 2022. If you want to meet (new) people to expand your social network, you can sign up to be Guide or Crew!

General Terms and Conditions

Leiden University and the OWL have the following Terms and Conditions


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

A couple of days prior to the start of the Orientation Week we will send you an e-mail with more information. In this email, 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.
During the OWL-week, if you have questions or problems relating to your group or Guides you can report to the Coordination team at Plexus Student Centre. They can help you.

Can I join all the activities together with my group?

There are two types of events. For some events, your group will get a time slot in which you can attend the event with your group. (Boat rides, dinners) Other activities you can join on individual basis or with only part of your group, for example workshops or museum visits.


I'm late, who do I contact?

The OWL programme starts with registration on Monday, 29th of August. If you can only join later during the week, it is not a problem if you let us know in advance. We will inform you what to do upon arrival and we will contact the guide of your OWL group and let them know that you will be late. You will need to visit the Coordination Team first upon arrival to pick up your bag and participant wristband. If the delay was unexpected, you can also visit the Coordination Team at Plexus Student Centre: Kaiserstraat 25, 2311GN Leiden. They will help you on your way

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.

Is it possible to participate less than 5 days?

We strongly recommend that you participate in the whole programme as it is a well-balanced programme designed to introduce you to as many aspects of Dutch and Leiden student life as possible. You will learn to find your way around Leiden and the University buildings, meet lots of people and besides that, we have made the programme fun and interesting! If you have to miss (a substantial) part of the programme or you will be arriving late on the first day, please let us know in advance through the registration form or by emailing to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl
If you need to leave at times during the week, please inform your Guides.

I'm attending the HOP/EL CID, can I also join the OWL?

You are welcome to attend the OWL as well. We do advise you that it might be pretty tiring and there might be some repetition in programme parts, but the OWL is a great week and a perfect way to meet new people. Please send an email to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl so we can send you a registration link.

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 we send you just before the beginning of the week. Your Guide can also help you to arrange things or bring you to the CT.
If you have urgent questions before the start of the week you can email us at participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl

What is the Coordination Team?

Because the OWL week is a very busy week with a lot of outdoor locations,the OWL board trains and prepares a small team of people who stay at headquarters all week; the Coordination Team.
They can help anyone with questions and are in direct contact with all the organisers at all locations through portophone contact.

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

• 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!
• ID-card or Passport.
• Your smartphone as we use the app for lots of information and to communicate any changes
• Raincoat/umbrella/sun lotion.
• Medicine (if needed).
• We provide you with a water bottle at registration which you can refill at all our locations
• Money (debitcard/creditcard/cash*)
* For safety reasons we only accept bills no larger than €50,-

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

Prepare you stay@Leiden University

Before you come to Leiden, there are a few things to think about and prepare. Please check out the Pre-departure page of Leiden university:
Prepare your stay

Drugs & alcohol policy

During the Orientation Week all use of drugs is prohibited. If participants or anyone involved in the OWL week (Guides, Crew, Student organisations etc.) is caught holding or using drugs there will be severe consequences: they will be excluded from further participation/involvement in the OWL.
Alcohol is prohibited for everyone under 18. If participants under 18 are caught in possession of or drinking alcohol during OWL events, or if anyone involved in the OWL week is caught providing alcohol to minors at OWL events, there will be severe consequences; they will be excluded from further participation/ involvement in the OWL.
All the Guides will receive an instruction for responsible alcohol use during the Guides & Crew training before the start of the OWL week and are responsible for the welfare of participants in their group. The abuse of alcohol might have consequences for both the responsible guides and the offending participant(s).
Although we may serve alcohol during the OWL week, we always have non-alcoholic drinks available at any and all these events as well.

General Terms and Conditions

Leiden University and the OWL have the following Terms & Conditions.
For usage of the OWL app you will be asked to sign an additional agreement on online conduct.


Do I have to take care of accommodation myself?

Yes, the Orientation Week Committee is not able to arrange accommodation for its participants.
It is possible however to make use of our special night dorm that we set up for the participants during the week if enough people are interested in this option. Please note that the DORM is only available to the (confirmed) OWL participants. You can express your interest for the dorm by ticking the box on the registration form. If the minimum interest is reached we will send you a sign up link which also includes the option to pre-order a sleeping bag and/or air-mattress. Please be aware that there are NO REFUNDS for the DORM, unless you cancel your admission to Leiden University. Also, we have a limited space at the dorm so it is on a first come-first serve basis.

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

Yes, 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 15€ and an air mattress 20€. These you can pre-order along with your dorm fee and will then be waiting for you on location. They are yours to keep afterwards. Check out the night dorm for more info.

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

The dorm will offer a 4 night deal that ends on the 1st of September. You would pay only until you can access your room.
If you do not want to make use of the dorm, (or interest is too low for us to set it up), you still have various options to find a place to sleep in time:

1. Regularly check the OWL & ESN 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 on 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 tick the box for dorm on the sign-up form. Can i still book a place?

If you did not let us know on the form that you want a place at the dorm, you can send an email to participants@owl.leidenuniv.nl.
We will tick the box for you and send you the link with which you can sign up. (if we organise the dorm) Be advised there is a limited amount of places and it is first come-first served. We will post on Facebook and/or the website when we have reached maximum capacity

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?

No: the dorm is based at the University Sports Centre and consists of 2 large 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. A simple breakfast is included in the fee. 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
For more information on the dorm, check:
night dorm