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.
Along my studies my faculty actively cultivated in our classrooms reasoned debate, principled dissent, and incisive collaborative engagement with various issues
In 2015, I started my undergraduate studies in the International Relations and International Organisation programme. In this holistic and pluri-disciplinary programme, I have been successfully trained - both theoretically and methodologically - to further pursue the set of problématiques that drive me intellectually.
Along my studies, apart from the commitment to excellent research and instructive teaching, my faculty actively cultivated in our classrooms reasoned debate, principled dissent, and incisive collaborative engagement with various issues. The university prepares students to understand, adapt to and respond to contemporary challenges, providing an inclusive and multicultural environment where boundaries are continuously contested and redrawn through creative exploration, informed conversations, and world-class scholarship. Groningen offers a platform where academic experience is not only about getting an education, but also about acquiring a self, fostering an independent mind, building personal networks, and cultivating an active stance towards the daunting problems of our globalized age.
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.
I want to know how to improve the world
I started IRIO as an idealist. I wanted to know what makes the world go round and how to improve it. IRIO is an excellent way to explore world politics and all the things that are involved. For my Bachelor's thesis, I wrote on images and how they influence international relations – more specifically, how infographics convey climate change. I'm very interested in how International Relations are affected by the digital age.
I spend a lot of time on the internet and I love learning new things from YouTube, infographics and blogs, and I believe that many people all over the world are influenced heavily by what they see online. I managed to establish a link between infographics and politics: some infographics have led to major changes in policy, saving thousands of lives. When writing my thesis I learned a lot about discourse and how it can develop from the most insignificant 9GAG meme to very important political decisions. I find that fascinating.
Student Ambassador Casper de Boer
Hi there! My name Casper de Boer. I am currently a fourth year IRIO student and moreover also participating in the Honours College (BA) progamme of the RUG. Last year I’ve advised the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Arts on education related matters in my function as student-assessor. A rather extensive part-time job causing me to have to extend my bachelor programme with one more year. Moreover, in my final year as an IRIO student I am a student ambassador for the IRIO programme, which means that I spend my days trying to give aspirant students, amongst others, an inisght into the world of IRIO.
How it all started? Well, actually quite spontaneously. I decided to join a friend of mine to an open day, where I got in touch with the IRIO bachelor programme for the very first time. The programme’s multi disciplenary approach immideatly struck a ressonant chord. IRIO is not just one subject of study, it is rather a ‘mosaique’ of different disciplines, from history to economics and from law to political science. Studying IRIO means that you are constantly in touch with the world around you. I believe it is no longer sufficient to only present your point of view, to think from out your proffession or specialism. A globalized world needs us to push the boundaries of our knowledge by combining different areas of knowledge, by listening to others and by developing ourselves through our encounters. IRIO offered me the tools to do so, by focusing on different aspects that constitute the world of IR. It feels as if each day, I learn something new about the ever-changing world around me. These dynamics make up for a challenging, yet thrilling experience.
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 .
Student Ambassador Teun van der Horst
Hi! My name is Teun van der Horst, I am 21 years old and second-year student International Relations & International Organization (IRIO). Two years ago, after I finished secondary school, I attended a study that totally did not fit my liking, and afterwards felt a bit lost regarding all the studies that were out there. Of all the studies, I luckily found what suits me best, and hope to help you to achieve the same.
Outside classes and lectures, I like being sociable, creative and to engage with global developments. Last year I did the lay-out and some writing for our student association’s magazine, this year I give guest lectures on international developments to secondary or practical schools’ students, and draw/paint as a hobby.
For a long time I have been a bit envious of people having one ‘true calling’, a single interest in for example technical physics or a health science that (I presumed) guides someone’s study choice very easily. Now I know that that’s a rather wrong assumption, and that for people with many different interests there luckily is multidisciplinary education. IRIO does have a focus on world politics and uses a theoretical approach, but it also addresses social sciences, economics, history, law and some other fields.
However, apart from a broad interest, I am mostly fascinated by the global developments of politics, war, democracy and diplomacy. I like how my study offers a more nuanced, elaborated and scientific view on what we see regularly in the news, or on what happens in wars and international conferences. I think an interest in these subjects is an absolute must – every IRIO-student is engaged with the news and with politics, be it in an activist or scientific way.
Being provided with the necessary tools
When I was searching for the right degree programme, a combination between law, economics and political science, I stumbled upon IRIO. So far, it is my experience that IRIO is more than simply combining these subjects: it provides us with the necessary tools to understand how they are all connected in this complex world.
A personal challenge has been the responsibility of getting the weekly readings done, which requires some discipline, but also provides us with great freedom to make our own schedule. This comes in very handy considering that Groningen, which is as “studenty" as a place can get, offers everything you could ask for, including the friends from all over the world you are bound to make here!
Every issue has many perspectives
I currently work as a business analyst at the gas trading company GasTerra. I work in the commercial department that sells gas to energy providers. As a business analyst I support the account managers in the sales process.
I like the dynamic environment in which GasTerra operates. Each day can be different in a rapidly changing market with many challenges. Every day I use the analytical skills I acquired during my studies. Knowing that every issue has many perspectives and involves interests is very valuable.
I chose to study IRIO because it is a broad interdisciplinary programme with an international focus. I loved the opportunity to specialize in a certain subject by choosing the most interesting research seminars, thesis subject and electives and an internship abroad. In addition, Groningen is a very lively city that has everything – nice coffee bars, nightlife and a brilliant student life. I am very lucky to still live in this beautiful city.
An international environment of likeminded academics
I chose the IRIO programme because I wanted to understand how the world around me works and, ultimately, to learn how to improve it. By learning how power structures work, how laws guide behaviour and how economic policies influence us, this programme seemed well-fit for me. Moreover, there is space to choose extra courses and to go abroad. Currently, I am writing my thesis on the effects of the euro area crisis on European Union policy and I am going abroad to South Korea next year.
Next to studying, I have participated in the vibrant student life of Groningen by doing a board year as the Chairman of Study Association Clio and by being involved in the Erasmus Student Network. These were all great opportunities to learn how to work in an international team. Studying IRIO in Groningen will submerge you into an international environment of like-minded, yet wholly diverse students and academics. With the experience and academic skills from Groningen, I hope to work for an international organization or an NGO.