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Flourishing. The Science and Practice of Well-being - summer school


Application deadline extended until April 23, 2023

Disclaimer: due to the coronavirus pandemic, this course description might be subject to changes. For the latest updates regarding corona virus, please check this link.

Please note: For this class there will be additional costs (about €50,-) for the excursion.

Admission requirements:

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.

Please note: Are you a third-year student and will you graduate this summer? Please check with the education information centre of your bachelor ’s programme what the deadline is for registering your bachelor and honours grades in uSis? If this does not conflict with the schedule of the summer school, you can apply for the summer school.

Topics: Personal reflection, self insight, personal leadership, storytelling, awareness, authenticity, positive psychology, connection, positive impact, fun.
Skills: Personal reflection, self insight, personal leadership, storytelling, awareness, connection.
Disciplines: Positive Psychology.


Many people aspire happiness and a positive impact on the world. But what is happiness? And what can we do to experience it more often, both within ourselves as in our interaction with others? Academic research in the field of human well-being has provided a great number of insights and practical interventions which can be used to increase our well-being on an individual, organisational and social level.

In this intensive summercourse, you will learn how to increase your resilience, how to experience more optimism and meaning in your life and how to have a positive impact on your environment. So, would you like to bring out the best in yourself and others, not only as a student but also as a human being? Would you like to get to know yourself even more? This summercourse provides you with plenty scientifically based techniques that will help you to achieve these goals concretely.

This summercourse consists of a 40 hour online course on positive psychology which provides you with the theoretical background and a 2-week intensive course facilitated by Pieternel Boer and different guests.

The course covers three levels:

I – Personal insight: What do I love? What am I good at? What is meaningful to me?

WE – Interpersonal insight: How do I relate to others?

ALL – What is my contribution to the greater good?

The meetings are largely devoted to mental, emotional and physical exercises, both individually and in groups, such as reflection and insight exercises, sharing experiences, visualization, meditation, martial arts and storytelling.

Course objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • be able to reflect on his/her personal development;

  • have knowledge of scientific theory in positive psychology;

  • have experience with and knowledge of practical interventions to increase their wellbeing;

  • have experience with and knowledge of ways to deal with stress and adversity

  • share and present their own personal story authentically;

  • formulate their own values and mission in life;

  • be able to work constructively and respectfully as a team.

Programme and timetable:

The summer school will take place from August 16 - August 29, 2023. The retreat will take place from August 28 until August 29, 2023.
Students can only participate in this summer school if they are available during this period.

Week 1
Wednesday August 16 (10.30 – 15.00) Kamerlingh Onnes building, room B0.17
Starting the journey.
Introduction and practicalities. Getting to know each other. Introducing wellbeing model.

Thursday August 17
Self study
Read and practice

Friday August 18 (10.30 – 15.00) Kamerlingh Onnes building, room B0.17
Emotional wellbeing.
Appreciating joy and sorrow

Week 2
Monday August 21 (10.30 – 15.00) Theater studio (room 2.33 in LAK), Lipsius building
Relational wellbeing.
Building nourishing relationships
Physical wellbeing.
The body mind connection

Tuesday August 22 (10.30 - 15.00) Theater studio (room 2.33 in LAK), Lipsius building
Intellectual wellbeing.
Being open to making mistakes
Workshop by Ayana Jung on creativity

Wednesday August 23
Self study
Read and practice

Thursday August 24 Old Observatory, room C0.05
Spiritual wellbeing.
Exploring the meaning in your life
Intellectual wellbeing
Strengths and qualities

Friday August 25
Self study
Read and practice

Monday August 28 starting at 10.00 in Schoorl
Retreat in Schoorl
During this 2 day retreat in Schoorl, we will have time to dive deeper into the subjects.
We will stay at a beautiful location in the dunes. Lunch, dinner and breakfast will be provided and you’ll stay overnight in a 2-person bedroom.

Tuesday August 29 finish at 15.30 in Schoorl
Retreat in Schoorl

First part in Leiden. The retreat in Schoorl.

Reading list:

Happier – Tal ben-Shahar
Scientific articles, videos and lectures available in online course: separate syllabus is available.

Teaching method:

  • Blended learning: the course is a combination of online lectures and real time workshops;

  • Experiential learning: all exercises are experiential-based, so learning takes place through experiencing and sharing. Theoretical background is supplied in the online course.

  • Applied approach: the course is practical and hands-on with a group assignment focusing on societal issues;

  • Integral approach: we look at human flourishing from a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual perspective.

Course load:

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours:

  • Online lectures and assignments: 40 hours;

  • Workshops: 40 hours (attendance is mandatory);

  • Individual written reflection: 10 hours;

  • Personal presentation: 10 hours;

  • Group assignment: 40 hours.

Assessment methods:

The assessment methods will look as follows:

  • 10% Participation assessed continually through participation in seminars

  • 30 % Examination MOOC Science of happiness

  • 20% (10% each) Two individual written reflections on your personal process (pass / fail)

  • 10% Personal presentation during retreat (pass/fail)

  • 30% Positive impact group assignment (grade)

Students could only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.
The assessment methods will be further explained in the first session of the class.

Due to the nature of this summer school this course is not graded. It does contain different assignments that will be assessed with pass/fail. The goal of the different assignments are to help you reflect and grow as a person as well as try out new behaviour and skills.

  1. Reflection report of MOOC Science of Happiness Berkeley University (Due Sunday August 14)
    A written reflection on the teachings of the MOOC The Science of Happiness. See for guiding reflection questions the format that has been shared with you.

  2. Reflection through free form (Due Sunday August 28)
    In this reflection you are free to choose form to engage in self-reflexivity; This can be a portrait, a drawing, a poem, a short video log, series of photographs, etc. Accompany your (art)work with written annotation of maximum 500 words, that conveys the reasons behind you choosing the specific expressive form (format) and the idea behind it. It can have a form of artist’s statement.

  3. Personal presentation (27 and 28 August during retreat in Schoorl)
    The duration of the presentation is maximum 8 minutes and in this time you are free to do/share/show whatever you want as long as it’s a personal story that shows a bit of who you are. It’s an exercise in authenticity and vulnerability. Stretching the limits of your comfort zone is often where learning and growth takes plays. You cannot do this exercise wrong. You show you and that is good. Share anything from your passion to your challenge and struggles, your strengths, weakness, your fears and worries or your dreams. The floor is yours!
    The presentation is not graded and we will also not discuss or analyse your presentation.

  4. Group workshop ‘Dive deep’ (27 and 28 August during retreat in Schoorl)
    As a group you are asked to prepare a 45 minute workshop in which you dive deeper into one of the subjects we have been exploring in the previous weeks. You prepare and facilitate the workshop for the rest of the class by exploring the topic on a personal and academic level. Make sure you include personal experience, scientific knowledge, interactive and experience based exercises and reflection. You are free to choose how you want to do it; creativity, experimentation and trying out new forms is encouraged. The goal is to learn more about the specific subject and engage your audience in a compelling way. Try to go deep, make it interesting, thought provoking, fun, interactive, personal, etc. whatever suits your idea but make sure to draw our attention in.
    We will form the groups and divide the topics during class.

Brightspace and uSis:

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Registration process:

Please note: For this class there will be additional costs (about €50,-) for the excursion.

Submitting an application for this course is possible until and including Sunday 23 April 2023 23:59 by filling in this form.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.

Pieternel Boer +316-43987546