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Advice for your first year studying in Leuven

Professors, PhD students and second year students, they all got through it. We gathered their wise counsel and best tips to succeed in your first year in Leuven.


Archives from The Voice

The Voice is the student newspaper run by internationals at KU Leuven. Between 2018 and 2022, The Voice published articles on the Veto website under the The Voice section, combined with translations of Dutch Veto articles. After 2022, the section was renamed to Veto English. Since then, the section has been operated by Veto English staff only.

Originally written in Dutch for Veto by Mathilde Dams, translated to English for The Voice by Gwynne van Kaauwen

You are in Leuven to study, but there is of course more to do than just studying. Look for involvement where you learn more than during the lectures. Become a member of a circle (i.e. “kring”) or free association, or commit yourself completely to the scouts or Chiro. Find a way to develop your skills for the workplace, make sure you learn more in Leuven than only theory.

Lana, president LOKO

In order to process the learning materials, use the tools that are handed to you; the student support (i.e. “monitoraat”), peer assisted learning, exercises or examples of exams on Toledo… I cannot comprehend how many students do not use this. And certainly do not get discouraged by success rates or statistics about study delays. You will not get happy looking at those, but the ones who are timely and actively occupied with the learning materials have much better projections.

Professor Vananroye

First and foremost; enjoy your first weeks. When it becomes time for the practice exams, take these seriously. And after the practice exams, it's time to start studying.

Helene, second year student

Take your studies seriously, but not too seriously. Something I had been looking forward to from my first year was the Erasmus exchange. This was one of the highlights of my study career, I made some very good friends. I would advise everyone to go for it. I really liked to get to know many new people at the university anyway.

Ines, former student

Focus 100% on studying and participating, but focus 200% on having a good time. It’s over before you know it!

Lieselot, president student council UCLL, region of Leuven

It’s not shameful to fail and there is room for that too at the university. Look at it as an opportunity to do better.

Lotte, president Stura

Determine for yourself from the very beginning what your goals are and what you enjoy doing. I, and many like me, had a tendency to do too much because it’s perceived to be part of the student life. But you don’t have to conform yourself to any student standard. Your student time will remain a golden time, it’s best to find out what sustainably makes you happy.

Jan, PhD student

As a new student there is a lot coming at you and it isn’t always easy to find your way. Our advice: get out of your “kot”, meet fellow students and go to one of the many social activities. Also try to take care of each other and listen when you notice that a fellow student is struggling.

The MindMates team

At the university, everyone starts from the bottom. Good grades in high school don’t simply result in the same grades in higher education. Start on time with studying, because squeezing everything in your head in one week rarely ever works.

Jan, eternal student

Find yourself a lover who takes good notes.

Boris, former student

Original article published by Veto in Dutch

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