Everybody knows: whenever there are two options available, a comparison will be made. Four international students, two from UG and two from Hanze, compare the two universities of Groningen and give their opinion about its students.
‘When I was researching for universities in The Netherlands, I already had in mind I wanted to attend a research university and not a university of applied sciences. So I have never considered Hanze.’ Alesia, a second-year International law student at the University of Groningen (UG) never had any doubts, but does she think studying at UG is harder? ‘I wouldn’t say so. They focus on different things and both have their difficulties. However, I have met quite a few people who compare the two universities of Groningen and I was surprised that mostly Dutch people seem to think there’s a difference in the level of difficulty. And whenever I would tell them about my study at UG, they would be surprised or wish me luck! I find that a bit upsetting, as I do not think that Hanze students have it easier. Additionally, I found it quite sad to meet Hanze students who valued themselves less compared to UG students.’
Mostly Dutch people seem to think there’s a difference in the level of difficulty
‘I heard the stereotype of Hanze students coming to the Netherlands just for the weed’ says Anne, a first-year International Business student at UG. ‘Are there days when I wish I studied at Hanze instead of UG? Yes, when I read my academic paper! UG prepares you for both an academic career and one in the field you are studying. Hanze instead just prepares you for the field you are studying, so if you don’t care about an academic career, the moment UG makes you work on the academic part, you get bored and fantasize about Hanze people doing what they like.’
I heard the stereotype of Hanze students coming to the Netherlands just for the weed
So when you compare the two universities of Groningen, does Alesia feel the stereotype of Hanze students studying less is true? ‘I know one Hanze student studying Biology and Medical Laboratory Research and, they have to study really, really hard there. I do see that our schedules differ greatly. I find his schedule, full of experiments at the laboratory in his school, to be quite busy. In comparison, many UG students have a more flexible schedule, which allows them to organize their own time. Sounds good, but it also means UG students have to motivate themselves to cover all the material. Thus, both students experience different types of difficulties. At the end of the day, it depends on what students want and what suits them better.’
It is the same at UG: some people are studying a lot and others not at all
‘I know few people studying at Hanze, and about the validity of the stereotypes of them studying less, it depends on the case, it is true just for some.’ proceeds Anne. ‘But it is the same at UG: some people are studying a lot and others not at all. Do UG people consider themselves more intelligent? I know many students at UG that do, but I disagree. But about feeling more acknowledged, it is not an opinion, it is true. If you compare the two degrees, their level of recognition is different. It is a fact. Of course, Hanze students can do activities on the side, such as internships, but the mere two diplomas are valued differently publically. Hanze and UG have different values and approaches, and it is then up to the individual which and how to value and use these strengths’.
If you compare the two degrees, their level of recognition is different
‘Looking for a university, I didn’t bump into UG’s name, but even if I would, I would not have considered it. Hanze is an applied sciences uni, while UG is all theory. And I don’t think it is automatically easier. I strongly believe that it depends on what you want to accomplish.’ says Chiara, a first-year International Business student at Hanze. ‘If you are satisfied with 5.5 at UG, surely you will be studying less than if you want to be graded an 8 on average at Hanze. Also, at Hanze, it is necessary to keep a high level of effort and consistency if you want to go well. Some of my classmates joke about Hanze and the exams being too easy and that we don’t do enough, but these are the same people who are not doing very well, so what does that say about them?’
If you are satisfied with 5.5 at UG, surely you will be studying less than if you want to be graded an 8 on average at Hanze
‘I started International Business at UG, one year ago, but I didn’t like all the math involved.’ says Alvaro, a Spanish International Business student at Hanze. ‘So after six months, I decided to switch to Hanze. Why did I decide to go to Hanze instead? Well, there was no other option in Groningen. So when you compare the two universities of Groningen, is studying at Hanze less demanding than at UG? Yes, absolutely. UG ranks 60th in the world and you have to do everything by yourself. You aren’t helped by anyone, teachers included. They send you a freaking email and that’s all. Studying there was trash.’
I do not see a real reason why some UG people should consider themselves better
‘I do not want to study at RUG, maybe it is just my idea and a little radical, but I believe an applied sciences uni gives you more than a theoretical one.’ continues Chiara. ‘I think you need to study theory but also work in labs. It’s like a doctor who reads books about surgery for thirty years, and when he faces his first patients who need a heart transplant, he knows all the veins and arteries, but he has no clue what to do. At UG I think there are two kinds of people: the ones going there because they are interested in theory, and a second group who are mostly there because it makes you cooler on paper. But honestly, I do not see a real reason why some UG people should consider themselves better.’