Efthymis Panourgias (Greece)
Before coming in Groningen I worked as a teacher of philosophy and Greek literature in secondary education in Greece. Continuing my studies in Philosophy was something that I wanted to do, since I finished my studies at the Philosophy department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. I wanted to expand my horizons and get in contact with new ways of thinking and working. Hence, I decided to follow a programme abroad. What could be better than the University of Groningen? The reason for choosing this specific faculty was that it is considered one of the best faculties in Europe and the best in the Netherlands.
Very high level and competitive programme
I have to admit that the Faculty of Philosophy and the programme were more than I had expected. First of all, the programme is a very high level and competitive one, with a variety of subjects from almost all areas of philosophy. Secondly, it consists in high skilled, experienced, and specialized personnel. The very fact that it hosts a large group of PhD students and post-docs is a strong indication that it is a very active faculty in terms of research with a strong presence in the philosophical domain. What is more, the fact that there are regular colloquia and seminars organized, gives everyone the opportunity to present their research and discuss it with their colleagues. I think that this is very important for the prosperity and the progress of everyone individually and of the Faculty in total. I shouldn’t omit to mention the extra-curricular activities, such as reading groups, which are regularly organised just for the sheer interest and engagement with a topic.
As for the atmosphere among the students and the teachers, I found it more relaxed and friendly than I was used to. The very fact that it is an independent Faculty gives it the leverage of a family atmosphere. The teachers are easily accessible and cooperative, while there is a good communication among the fellow students. What makes the whole atmosphere more comfortable and pleasant is the Kantine (canteen) in which everyone gathers to have their lunch, relax and talk.
Language and cultural differences
Nevertheless, there are quite a few difficulties that one faces by their arrival in Groningen. Even though both the University and the Faculty give a warm welcoming, and there is a general willingness to help on several levels, there are some objective difficulties that one has to face. Language and cultural differences are the most important ones. It is true that it takes time to adjust to the cultural differences and get used to speaking and talking in a foreign language. However, it is a minor obstacle that can be easily surpassed.
Bureaucratic issues: do some research beforehand
The search for accommodation and the bureaucratic issues that one has to deal with before and during staying in Groningen, are quite easily resolved. However, one must take care of them quite some time before arrival. Especially accommodation must be catered for before arrival due to the fact that the demand for housing is bigger than the offer. An easy and safe solution is staying during the first period in one of the student houses which are administered by the Housing Office. As for the bureaucratic issues (enrolment at the municipality hall, health insurance, bank account etc.), it is advisable to do some research beforehand as to what is required. I shouldn’t fail to mention that I had quite some help from the Faculty and some fellow students.
Groningen: great chances for new experiences
Groningen is mainly characterized by its student life, since the RUG is a big university. Hence, it is the perfect place for someone to meet new people from different countries and cultural backgrounds from all over the world. Especially for someone easy-going, it is not difficult to make new friends and socialize a lot. Combined with the fact that Groningen is a city with a variety of options concerning entertainment and cultural events, I think that it offers great chances for new experiences. Even though it is considered a remote area within the Netherlands, it is a lively city with many facilities for almost every taste and an easy access to several places around Central and Northern Europe.
I am following the Research Master programme with a specialization in ancient metaphysics and epistemology (Plato and Aristotle). After the end of my studies at the Faculty of Philosophy I intend to continue research in my area of interest.
|Last modified:||30 May 2016 12.05 p.m.|