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Start The Conversation between International Students and the City Council

International students discuss local political issues

What could the City of Groningen do to better facilitate its international students? How can the City improve their experience in Groningen? Ten international students and two local Groninger politicians kicked off an experiment to discuss these topics. “Start The Conversation!” aims to encourage international students to have a say in local politics and to improve their stay in Groningen.

The group engaged in a constructive discussion on the main topics that concern international students, such as housing, integration into Dutch culture and local career opportunities. The students got the chance to speak up and bring up their concerns oftentimes underpinned by personal experiences.  

When it comes to the housing situation, all agreed that more regulation on the private market is necessary and it may be useful to find ways to educate students about legal issues. Another interesting initiative could be to connect Dutch families to international students to improve mutual understanding. Why not have internationals visit Dutch families one evening to let both sides get to know the other better? Thirdly, there is a desire to bridge the gap between employers and students and to transform Groningen from a “transit-city” into a worthwhile place to stay after graduation.

All in all, it turned out to be a fruitful and enjoyable evening. The students were happy to have a voice and share ideas on improving the experience of internationals in the lovely city of Groningen. To be continued!  

Written by Tobias Arbogast, RUG International Alumni Ambassador Germany 2015-2016

Last modified:19 March 2020 10.06 a.m.