Moving to Groningen! Now what?
|Date:||18 October 2017|
Moving to a new country may seem intimidating at first. You’ll be in a new place with new people, but you will also have a lot of new experiences to go along. When I first received my acceptance letter I was both excited and nervous--excited for this adventure, but also trying to wrap my head around the things I needed to do before I left home. Luckily, I had been abroad before so I knew where to begin and eventually, things started to feel a little less crazy. With that in mind, there will be a number of things you will need to arrange before you depart for the Netherlands.
The important stuff
First things first, if you are a student coming from abroad you’re going to need to check the requirements for residence permits and/or visas. Fear not though, as a non-EU student I felt that the university made this feel a lot less overwhelming. The University applies for your MVV visa and/or residence permit at the Dutch Immigration Services (IND) and will inform you about the procedure and the documents that are needed for the application.
Finding Your New Home
Now that your documents are hopefully in order (passport, visa, residence permit), you’re going to want to look into your accommodation. You can choose to live in either private accommodation or in housing through SSH. SSH offers for new incoming international students. When I was first accepted into the University of Groningen the welcome guide became my best friend. It had all of the information I needed--including finding accommodation! I chose to live in SSH housing (more specifically, I lived in Moesstraat 16). This will continue to be one of the greatest experiences of my time in Groningen. I made lifelong friends and felt right at home from day one. It’s hard to imagine becoming so close to a group of strangers after just hours of knowing each other, but the shared experience of being an international student in a new city instantly bonded us. I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world and share our cultures---we all celebrated Thanksgiving dinner together which instantly made me feel at home. We even put on Christmas dinners and celebrated Hanukkah. The students I lived with became my first and closest friends in Groningen.
Once you sort out your accommodation, the next step is arranging how you’re going to get here! You can find information about getting to Groningen on the University website. When arranging my flight, I took advantage of the University airport pickup service. It helped ease some anxiety about arriving in a new country alone. I was greeted by a group of smiling RUG students bearing their red University t-shirts and banner. They helped me buy a train ticket, and of course, made sure I got on the right one! ...which I am forever thankful for because my sleep-deprived self would not have managed.
I will admit, once I arrived in Groningen, I was exhausted. Completely. My long-haul flight felt like it drained the life out of me, but I eventually made it to my apartment and settled in. Although I managed to sleep away my very first day in Groningen, the next day I got myself up and walked into the city . Which is when of course, I decided I needed a bike--but that’s a whole other story altogether.
Of course, once you get to Groningen you will arrange bits here and there. These will include opening a bank account, buying a bike, finding your study style, joining , and even sports teams. The most important thing to remember is that while the process may seem unnerving, it will eventually come together and you will have some of your most unforgettable memories here in Groningen.