Our education is strongly rooted in research. Right from the start of your degree programme attention is paid to academic research and development, since an analytical and critical mind and problem-solving capabilities are important qualities in any career our students aspire.
Very accessible and supportive lecturers
I had always been interested in international politics, economics and law with a focus on conflict management and humanitarian action. Since I was eager to study abroad and International Relations is almost exclusively taught at the graduate level in Germany, I decided to enrol on the IRIO Bachelor program at the University of Groningen.
Given how the program is designed, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a wide range of subjects, including international human rights law, monetary and trade theory, history of international relations as well as research tools and methods in social sciences. While there were a number of compulsory tutorials, students were encouraged to organize themselves and required to read and study a lot by themselves. While this “freedom” proved to be challenging at times, my lecturers and professors were always very accessible and stood ready to answer any questions. They were also very supportive of my professional plans.
Looking back, I have no doubt that it was the right decision to come to Groningen for my Bachelor studies. What I learnt during my time here has been extremely valuable in terms of both my academic and professional development. In fact, it proved to be a crucial stepping-stone to realize my personal goals. After completing my studies in May 2012, I was fortunate to obtain a scholarship to pursue a Master's degree in Washington, DC and subsequently started working for the UN in the US and the Middle East.
This programme combines my interest in history, geography and politics
After finishing school in Hungary, I took a gap year and was looking for programmes that combined my interest in history, geography and politics. The possibility of studying in English, along with the reputation and competitiveness of the university, convinced me to choose IRIO in Groningen.
So far, the programme has lived up to my expectations. The biggest differences between secondary school and university are freedom and self-responsibility. Most of the students in the programme are passionate about their studies. Groningen is the best place to be a student: the city is always buzzing, and I love the way everyone cycles. It gives a really friendly feeling to the entire city.’
This programme helps you understand how a policy should work and how an organizational structure should facilitate this policy
I chose IRIO as I am passionate about making the world a better place. The course units that interested me most were those dealing with policy or theory. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme gives you the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to enter the world of policy-making at an international level.
The IRIO programme helps you understand how a policy should work and how an organizational structure should facilitate this policy. If you can comprehend how these function, you will be equipped to work in this world.
The knowledge I have gained during my degree has come into play in various parts of my life. For example, I am Chair of the Board of Clio and Treasurer of our alumni association, Mitrany. These board posts have enabled me to develop practical skills and learn to work in a team. After I graduate, I would like to work for a consultancy or the government.
IRIO is not just a single subject as such, but rather a mosaic of different disciplines
Hi there! I’m Casper de Boer, a second-year IRIO student. I’m also following the UG’s Bachelor’s Honours College programme. This year, I am also the Editor-in-Chief of Checks&Balances, a magazine published by the IRIO study association, Clio. Finally, I am also a student ambassador for the IRIO programme, which means that I spend time trying to give prospective students an inside look at the world of IRIO.
So, how did I end up in Groningen in the first place? Quite spontaneously, actually. I decided to join a friend of mine on an open day, where I found out about the IRIO Bachelor’s programme. The programme’s multidisciplinary approach immediately struck a chord with me. IRIO is not just a single subject as such, but rather a mosaic of different disciplines, from history to economics and from law to political science. In Dutch we have a famous saying – ‘kijk verder dan je neus lang is’ – which, literally translated into English, means ‘look further than the length of your own nose’. I think that this is exactly what needs to be done in contemporary public debate. It is no longer sufficient to only present your point of view, to think only from the perspective of your profession and/or specialism. The globalized world of the 21st century requires us to push back the boundaries of our knowledge by combining different areas of knowledge, by listening to others and by developing as individuals through these experiences. IRIO has offered me the tools to do just this, by focusing on the various different aspects that constitute the world of IR. I learn something new about the ever-changing world around me every day, which gives me the feeling that I’m participating in an up-to-date, relevant programme.
Experienced and renowned professors supply high quality academic knowledge
I came to Groningen because I was interested in a study program that was not offered at universities in Germany at that time. I knew little about the Netherlands and the Dutch education system, let alone the language. More importantly, I did not know anything about the city that I would call home for the following three years and yet I immediately felt at home..
Most of the inhabitants are students that gather on innumerable patios to enjoy a drink in the sun during a study break or spend a day in the Noorderplantsoen (Groningen’s most crowded park in the summer). Many of the university buildings are spread over the city center and so it is not unusual to be greeted by a fellow student or a professor while you are biking to your next class. In fact your bike will be your most valued companion throughout your time in Groningen.
All of this is of course an important part of the student life in Groningen, but what struck me most about my time here in Groningen was the quality of my academic experience. Experienced and renowned professors supply high quality academic knowledge and ignited my passion for academic research in my field of study. They provided me with important tools and skills that will be very valuable for my future career and personal life. Moreover, learning in a multicultural environment not only enhanced my academic performance; it also changed my view on many study-related topics and led me to become a more tolerant and open-minded person.
Read more about Isabell and her student life in Groningen .