Around 1,400 new students from abroad came to study at Hanze University this year. Over a thousand of them showed up at Welcome Day on 30 August. Why did they pick Hanze and Groningen? Four more portraits of new internationals!
Nguyen Vu Duc (22) from Saigon, Vietnam. International Communication.
‘How I come by that British accent? Well, I taught Vietnamese to British expats. I also was an English teacher at Vietnamese schools. I studied International Business at my home city Saigon where I learned a bit of marketing and I did some freelance work in making commercial videos. To broaden my knowledge and skills I decided I wanted to study communication in Europe. In most European counties it’s only possible to study cheap if you take a programme in the native language, German, French, Spanish. In Holland it is possible to choose English language programmes within my budget.
‘I arrived the day before yesterday. I was surprised by the heat, but I liked it,. And everything is calm and quiet, which I like too. One of the first things I did was buy an old black bike. I ride a scooter in Vietnam, but cycling is much cheaper, I expect. Of course I also miss Saigon, but I’m sure I’ll grow over that pretty soon. It’s great to hear other people talking Vietnamese, which already helps.’
Alina Kushnarenko (21) from Belgorod, Russia. Exchange programme in IT Management
‘I came from Belgorod with four fellow students, Groningen is my second home. I was here before, two year ago when I undertook another exchange programme. Ever since it has been my dream to come back. I arrived yesterday. I have already been recognized and welcomed back by a number of lecturers. I saw that a lot has changed. A building has completely disappeared and new modern spaces have been created.
Finding a room this time was very easy. I was offered the same room as two years ago by my landlord, a wonderful man who is like a father to me. I share the room with my Russian friend Vika. I’m really looking forward to another six months at Hanze.’
Smiltė Butkevičiūtė (19) from Šiauliai, Lithuania. Design Programme at Academy Minerva.
‘Groningen is a very nice city. I instantly feel at home, like I belong here. I have very fond memories of my first visit to the Netherlands when I was 14: the museums, the tulips, Van Gogh. I had lots of fun. So I wanted to study in the Netherlands and Groningen was the only place where I could do a flexible programme where I can decide after one year what sort of design I want to focus on. Right now I paint a lot of cartoony characters using watercolour. I also illustrated a children’s book that was published. But maybe I’ll decide to specialize in spatial design or animation.’
Darrel Yenika (21) from Cameroon. International Communication.
‘I was born in Buea, in the English-speaking part of Cameroon. When I was seven I joined my dad who worked in a hotel in the Netherlands. We lived in The Hague and Delft. I still have Dutch friends from that period. Hence I still speak quite a bit of Dutch. When I was nine my whole family moved to Norway. In the beginning I had great difficulty adjusting to life there, the cold, the mountains. All Norwegians are blond and have blue eyes, I kept missing Holland with its multicultural environment. I really like Groningen, a vibrant student city and a good International Communication study programme in English. I got a great room in a student house. I was really lucky. When I arrived at SSH someone had just cancelled his accommodation.’
Photos: Luuk Steemers