Summer 2021, thousands of students pack their clothes, buy flight and train tickets and say goodbye to their loved ones. An adventure lies ahead. What do international students expect of Groningen?
‘I expect Groningen will have a slower pace of life than Dar es Salaam has’, says Loice from Tanzania, who will start her Bachelor’s programme in Business Administration in Groningen next September.
‘Considering that it houses a pretty large student population, I guess a large number of services and activities cater to student needs and interests, such as night life, recreational activities and internship opportunities. I am looking forward to the cultural shock’, she adds. ‘Dutch culture is so different, all European cultures are, as a matter of fact. I attended boarding school in South Africa, so I have a pretty solid idea of how to interact with people from all across Africa. This will be quite different, I genuinely hope to meet people from countries I have not visited nor heard of.’
Csenge could be one of these people. The Hungarian student of International Communication has high hopes.
‘Groningen seems to offer many options to grow’, she says. ‘I expect Hanze University to be a helpful and professional academic environment, where I can reach out for advice and gain insight into research and topics that interest me.’
I’m looking forward to ice-skating on Paterswoldse Meer
Csenge has a passion for visual arts. ‘I want to join an arts course. I also might go and look for fellow young artists and visit museums all around the Netherlands. I imagine Groningen as a city full of intelligent and open-minded students, people from whom I can learn a lot. I am sure that I will find great company for exploring the city and its surroundings. I surely will make a visit to the seaside and visit the Christmas markets in Bremen. I’m also looking forward to ice-skating on Paterswoldse Meer.’
Csenge has not found accommodation yet. ‘I expect that obstacles and uncertainty will surely be part of my student life’, she concludes. ‘Without a permanent address, I will not be able to open a Dutch bank account, so I depend fully on my MasterCard.’ Csenge also cannot apply for a part-time job, and she is not eager to stay in shared hostel rooms and sleep on friend’s couches.
‘So far the application procedure was long, fussy and full of difficulties, mostly because of the overwhelming number of students. However, I really hope that socially and academically everything will go much smoother, and I will be able to concentrate on these, instead of worrying about the circumstances.’
So far the application procedure was long, fussy and full of difficulties
Indonesian Claudya Stevany has been dreaming about studying in the Netherlands for four years now. ‘I have completely fallen in love with the University of Groningen. The moment I started digging deeper to get to know more about the city, I felt that it is indeed a beautiful and peaceful place. Groningen is also known as a city of students, so there are lots of intelligent and diverse people I can meet. I hope I will connect with them and build a strong network which will be very helpful for my future career. I am looking forward to making as many friends as possible, with whom I can explore the city. I’m really excited about experiencing winter over here, especially Christmas.’
I want to experience the Dutch bluntness first hand
‘I don’t exactly know where I am heading’, says Samrddhee. ‘but the least I can do is to wish for something beautiful and memorable.’ Samrddhee, who is from a small city in India, will continue her bachelor’s programme in Psychology next September.
‘I spent my first year studying online, but I was already able to make some lovely friends. I’m really looking forward to seeing them: go to the library with them, chat together, cycle together and everything else.’
Samrddhee will be in another country for the first time in her life. ‘To be honest, the term cold feet would be an understatement. It will be absolutely wrecking. I have to take a plunge into the unknown, that’s how it feels right now.’
So what else does Samrddhee expect of Groningen? She is also curious about cultural differences. ‘I want to experience the Dutch bluntness first hand’, she laughs. ‘I do not exactly know how difficult it will be for an Indian girl to fit in and get used to the European way of life and the use of toilet paper. But, I am intending to simply be myself and see where I will end up. I hope I can find a circle of friends and I’ll enjoy everything Groningen has to offer with ease and fulfilment. When you’re far away from your friends will became your family. I am looking forward to it all, I am eager to see it all, I want to live it all.’