Physics is concerned with describing and predicting natural phenomena. Applied physics is concerned with applying physics in technical solutions. Design and construction are important aspects of this.
Applied physics is at the heart of society. It forms the basis
for many of the products we use in daily life. The programme has a
strong interdisciplinary orientation, with an emphasis on
combinations of subjects: physics with design studies,
nanotechnology, new materials and systems and control
Applied physics involves studying not only how phenomena come about, but also how to use them for technical solutions. The programme focuses on theory and practice.
Critical appraisal skills
Applied physics is an academic subject, which means that you acquire not only knowledge, but also skills such as presentation, working in a team and setting up and conducting research. We teach you critical appraisal skills, which you will learn to apply to your own and other's work.
Applied physics can certainly be described as a 'tough' subject. In order to study it you need to have an affinity for sciences and you need to have an enquiring and creative mind that wonders how things work.
The programme is very challenging: I still have a long way to go, but I already know I made the right choice.
Before I applied to the University of Groningen, I knew nothing about Groningen. All I knew was that I wanted to study abroad to improve my English and it was the only top-rated university besides Great Britain that offered the undergraduate programme I wanted in English. I have always been very interested in physics: it's a fascinating field. Of course, you learn about natural phenomena, but combining it with modern technologies really makes it worthwhile.
That's why I decided to take up Applied Physics. The programme is very challenging: I still have a long way to go, but I already know I made the right choice.
The lecturers here are very open, and always take the time to answer questions. They all speak English and although the material is tough, I feel like I'm learning a lot. This subject is so broad and varied. Fortunately, the university also helped me with the application process, making it much more straightforward. They even put me in touch with a mentor student from my faculty in case I needed any help or advice.
Getting started wasn't easy. I left my home, my country Portugal, and my family to live on my own. I had to do things by myself that I used to do with my friends and family. Fortunately, Groningen is a very safe, comfortable city full of life and I quickly found my way around - although I still don't like cycling in the rain. It is an easy-going, relaxed place to live, with plenty of excitement and activities when you want to have some time off. National holidays like Sinterklaas and King's Day are good fun, and Dutch students are always up for introducing you to these traditions.
Groningen has a great variety of clubs and organisations you can join to meet people – there really is something for everyone. I felt at home with the other Spanish exchange students and discovered how many young people with different nationalities were in that same situation I was in. This really helped me improve my English, and also offered me a new, in-depth perspective on the world around me.
Studying abroad is not easy. It has its ups and downs, and there will be moments when you miss everything you were used to at home. But that is also the point of an experience like this. It makes you stronger and wiser when you overcome all the difficulties and problems that might not have happened to you in your 'natural habitat'. It is, without doubt, one of the best ways to grow as a human being.