Here they are! Fresh international students at Zernike Campus. Fresh international students. They even walk around Zernike Campus. Julia already speaks Dutch and Annabelle knows just about where she lives.
Julia Nesheva (27) from Bulgaria
‘I arrived here in June. In the meantime I got to know the city and learned to speak a bit of Dutch and I even got a job as a housekeeper with the Martini Hotel. The past few years I wanted to study hotel management in the UK. But that was way too expensive. In the Netherlands it’s much more affordable. That’s how I came here to study Facility Management. I chose Groningen because it’s not such a big city, far from the touristy areas.
I want to become a manager in a big hotel group, so I may be moving out of Europe
‘I was born in Bulgaria. A few months after my birth we went to live in Nigeria for fourteen tears. When I was eighteen I moved to the United Kingdom, I worked there as a manager in hotels and fast-food restaurants. In the meantime I also studied. I took a degree in adventure tourism and got a diploma in project management online.
‘I did not join the Welcome Day because I have got used to Groningen and made all the necessary arrangement to live here already. I really like life in Groningen. I’m looking forward to living here a couple of years, but I don’t know if I’ll live here permanently. I want to become a manager in a big hotel group after I graduate, that means I may be moving out of Europe in the future.’
Annabelle Bradler (20) from Germany
‘Well, it’s not that far. Three hours and a half by car. But wait a minute, what’s the maximum speed in the Netherlands? A hundred kilometres an hour? Okay, it may take you four hours, but then you’re in Celle, less than fifty kilometres north of Hanover. Quite a pleasant place, also for people who don’t come from there.
I live at Brinklaan, that’s near a fairly new train station, I found out the other day
‘Celle is known for its typically German half-timbered houses, but the population is not that traditional, in fact it’s very mixed. For example, there is a fairly large Kurdish community. It’s all going well. The anti-foreigners sentiment is mainly found in East Germany, where very few foreigners live.
‘The choice for Hanze University was not that difficult. There are no four years’ programmes on Game Design in Germany. Hanze does offer one. Besides that, Groningen seems okay with me.
‘I haven’t seen that much of the city yet. And I don’t know exactly where in Groningen Brinklaan is located. It’s near a fairly new train station, I found out the other day. At Brinklaan I share a house with two Dutch students, a Belgian and a Russian. They are, how can I put that nicely… let’s say: I am very neat. But okay, we already agreed to do something with the mess.
‘I got to know my classmates a little bit. We play games. Not computer games, but regular board games. You don’t expect gamers to do that, do you? But that’s because there are prejudices about gamers. Yes, I’m pretty good at math and programming, but the best marks I earned were for art, drawing, painting, you name it. I’d love to turn art into my profession, but that’s not for everyone. Game Design is a good alternative, I hope.
Germans are known here as hard workers, I doubt I’ll live up to that image
‘I love games, but I am not an addict. I don’t even have a favourite game, but if I had to name one, I would say Assassin’s Creed. Some guys I know have learned a lot more about history by playing this game than during history lessons.
‘In the Netherlands, the corona rules are a lot less strict. In Germany, you can’t get into school without a mask. In this respect, the Netherlands is more like it was before the pandemic broke out. But it’s all still very annoying, that virus.
‘I’ve noticed Germans have quite a name here. They are reputed to study very hard and try very hard. I doubt whether I can live up to that image. I’d call myself average. But average German girls who love gaming are welcome here too, aren’t they?