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Tadeu about Urban Planning, Design and Society

"The university is as internationally oriented as the rest of the city, both welcoming to foreigners and very warmly."

The surprises of Groningen

Groningen is an enjoyable student-city that probably surpasses expectations of newcomers. Although for Dutch standards it is far from the core of the country, it does not lack things to do, as it is only two hours away from Amsterdam and its nightlife will surprise you. Travelling makes you dependent of the national train system – but that’s not a big issue.

In the beginning, I was worried about the language but I soon found out that almost everybody speaks English. Traffic signs, menus in restaurants and other things are generally only written in Dutch, but the natives are usually welcoming, great English-speakers who tend to apologize for speaking Dutch to someone that can’t understand their language. There are also many international students.

The University of Groningen: a new experience

My experience at the University of Groningen has been very different from what I was used to in Brazil. Here, students spend less time inside the classroom but they are expected to spend more time studying and doing assignments by themselves. The university library is always crowded, sometimes making it difficult to find a free table, but it provides a very interesting and distinct experience, as it is a gathering point for students from all programmes.

The ‘Spatial Problems & Spatial Sciences’ course is a great introduction to the Netherlands. There are many excursions and each lesson focuses on a different aspect of the country: planning, water management and religion are just a few examples. So far, what I find the most challenging about the courses is the difference in approaches and bibliography, compared to my studies back in Brazil. It is probably related to different traditions of studying some topics and the prevalence of geographers rather than architects and engineers as teachers.

Groningen offers a special experience, in many ways different from our home country, but I don’t see many people having troubles with settling in. The university is as internationally oriented as the rest of the city, both welcoming foreigners and very warmly. It has been a nice place to live and study so far.

Tadeu Lara Baltar da Rocha in front of the Academy Building
Tadeu Lara Baltar da Rocha in front of the Academy Building
Laatst gewijzigd:12 december 2013 15:29