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Introduction Weeks Available to UG Students

Date:29 July 2021
Author:Luc
Grote Markt during the KEI grand opening in 2019
Grote Markt during the KEI grand opening in 2019

Did you know that Groningen is the host of the biggest introduction week for university students in Europe? Participation in an introduction week is an easy way to get acquainted with the city, meet new students and current residents, and learn more about student life. In addition to the welcoming ceremony and the introduction events organised by the University of Groningen and its faculties, there are 2 city-wide introduction events offered to all students in Groningen and Leeuwarden.

 

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) organises a week-long introduction week to help international students get acquainted with their new city and university. ESN is the largest student network in Europe – spanning 40 countries! During the ESN-week, students are assigned groups with whom they experience the week. Each group is given ESN-guides who are existing students tasked with helping guide internationals through the week. There are many cultural and sporting events to take place in as well as special dinners and fun parties! There are opportunities to even learn a bit of Dutch and learn some of the basics of riding a bike, which will be your main form of transport in Groningen. ESN also organises events throughout the year that members can participate in – from dinners prepared by students from all over the world showcasing their country’s foods, to themed parties and excursions. To read more about the ESN week, check out Brielle’s blog or have a look at the website. This year, the ESN-week will run from the 3rd - 8th September 2021, tickets cost around  €37.50.

ESN programme 2021
ESN programme 2021

The KEI-week is the largest introduction week in Europe and functions as the UG’s general introduction week. It will run from the 16th - 20th August 2021, the week costs around  €39.00.  The KEI-week also gives you a great opportunity to make friends with other internationals – but more importantly, it gives you the chance to make Dutch friends before you start your programme. Getting used to the way of life in Groningen is so much easier if you have a Dutch friend to help you get familiar with the language and culture. For instance, in South Africa, asking, “how are you?” to complete strangers is a natural part of any conversation. Naturally, I asked every cashier and store workers in Groningen this question, and each time I was met with surprise and confusion. Which made me a little sad and confused too. I decided to ask one of my Dutch friends about this, and she said emphatically, “we do not do that here,” and explained that familiarity is reserved for people you know. This is why it is important to go to introductory weeks like the KEI and make Dutch friends, this is their country and they know what’s up.

The KEI-week hosts a medley of events – there are information markets, sports days, cultural events, social gatherings, parades, and parties. Like the ESN-week, the KEI-week is a wonderful way to get to know the city, make friends and get immersed into life in Groningen. To read more about the KEI-week, check out their website. To get an impression of the week from another student, take a look at Peter’s blog! This year will probably function differently to how it has done in the past, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, big parties will not be allowed this year, but you’ll still be able to meet with your group and attend the other information sessions!

If you’re preparing to move to the city of Leeuwarden, the LEIP-week is the perfect way to get acquainted with the Frisian capital and Campus Frysl»Én. It runs from the 16th - 19th August 2021. From sing-a-longs to meeting locals, this is a good way to kickstart your academic life in Leeuwarden. Unfortunately, some of the large scale events have been cancelled this year, but you can still meet current and new students!

The charm of Leeuwarden is undeniable!
The charm of Leeuwarden is undeniable!

Are you curious about how things work at your faculty and which academic requirements you’ll have? Don’t worry! Each faculty organises its own introduction events for their students. These events allow you to meet students who study the same programme as you and give you a good idea of the academic commitments you’ll be undertaking throughout your studies. I also recommend that you attend the Welcoming Ceremony; in addition to talks from the Board of the University and other key members of the UG, you’ll receive some more great information on the UG and your new home. Due to the pandemic, we are still unsure about whether events will be held in-person or online, but you can always rest assured that there will be plenty of opportunities to get to know the UG. 

Looking back on my life in Groningen, the introduction period in my first year is still one of the best experiences I’ve had. I wholeheartedly recommend attending one, or all of the introductory events at the UG!

About the author

Luc
Luc
Hi there! I am Luc, a South African student of International and European Law. In my spare time you will find me consuming Netflix, playing guitar and singing, cycling around, spending time with friends and whispering “what a cutie” to every dog and cat that happens to walk past me in Groningen!

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