Groningen is a great city. The city truly “lives” as a matter of speaking. The people are kindhearted, but this I already knew before coming here. Everything is really easily accessible and the university is the best!
I really enjoyed the psychology programme. There is a lot of interaction with the professors. If you have an idea during class, you are free to speak your mind. In Belgium, the classes are generally speaking more crowded compared to Groningen. The smaller classes really enable many more interaction possibilities.
The highlight of my exchange would be the people I got to know here. I truly believe they will be friends for a lifetime.I would most definitely recommend going to Groningen! There is no doubt about it.
Studying here has been an awesome experience. First of all, from an academic perspective. I got to learn things in a different way. Back home I was used to study more theoretical material. Whilst here I really got to know how doing research actually works. I got to study different papers and the way of educating is more technologically advanced. Moreover, the environment is very international. This was the first time that I had a chance to meet people from all over the world, for example, from Australia, China, Korea or America! This was great because you got to socialize with people who have a completely different cultural background. This sometimes led to facing a number of cultural problems, which makes you grow as a person, somehow. Overall, I am really happy I chose this place, because with whatever perspective you look at it, this turned out to be the best option for me. It was exactly what I was looking for.
The study programme definitely met my expectations. I truly had the chance to grow as a professional. Before my arrival, I was sure that I would study clinical psychology and become a psychotherapist. When I came here I looked at psychology in a different way. I analyzed different tracks, for example social psychology, evolutionary psychology, traffic psychology, environmental psychology… There are so many choices; I honestly started to doubt my own plans. And now I am thinking about coming back here for the research master.
I would describe the atmosphere here as tailored to students, everything here is built entirely for students. When you look at the faculty buildings; you cannot believe it is a university. It looks so beautiful; it could be a restaurant! You have the feeling you belong to the university. The university believes in you and gives you many opportunities. Studying may not be easy, but because you get a lot of support, you will still manage.
I want to return here to participate in the research master of Behavioural and Social Sciences. I am currently a second-year student, so I need to finish my bachelor first. It is going to take me one more year, but I am seriously considering to return. I am really interested in the research master. I know it is hard to get in, but I want to participate because afterwards there is a huge percentage that will acquire a PhD place more easily; which is my main focus. Something that this university has taught me is that even though you are unsure of what the future brings, you know you have many possibilities to grow. Something I was not aware of before.
I truly loved my exchange here, it was more than I expected. I came here for the quality of the education, the challenging courses and the international environment. That is exactly what I got! On top of that, I made some amazing friends; who I will hopefully continue to see after my return home. Before I arrived, I had no idea of what the Netherlands would be like. Upon my arrival, I was pleased to see that it is very nice. The city is very green and the cycling culture is incredible.
Instead of using the word “city” for Groningen, I would actually prefer to use the word “community”. Even as an international student you feel part of the community. It is rather small and compact; and, even though the population is also small, it feels like a busy and vibrant town. I especially enjoy how all of the people are so easily accessible and friendly. The infrastructure is amazing; everything is just a walking or cycling distance away. I feel free here. The small and beautiful houses are what I love the most.
I would definitely recommend studying here. There is more to studying than just partying; I would recommend this place so that people can experience the Dutch lifestyle. There is so much to appreciate, for example the sense of community and simplicity. The Dutch strike me to be very simple and natural, I would even say authentic.
I would really recommend future students to come here and to let it all sink in. Try to be a part of the community on a more day-to-day level. This way you can really experience that sense of belongingness and may create a deep understanding of Groningen. You can do this by going to the market, cycling around town, travelling around and by just talking to people! Go explore the buildings, the houses or visit events concerning the local or national history.
I did not even consider other places, I was sure I wanted to come here.
I really enjoyed my exchange period. At this point, I do not think I want to go home. Coming here was a big step for me. At home, you are always depending on your family and friends. I do not step out of my comfort zone that easily. My hometown is Cairo, Egypt; it is really crowded with a large population. I am used to having many people around me. Also, I have been around Europe, but I never visited the Netherlands before. Groningen is really small compared to home. This made the step of coming here even bigger. However, I do not regret choosing this place. The city is nice; it feels small and cozy. Also, the large student population is really enjoyable. Whenever you are walking down the street you see so many familiar faces! Most people are also very eager to get to know one another, everyone is in the same position of wanting to make new friends.
I thought the study programme was good. I followed 2 courses per block. The courses were really challenging compared to the courses back home. But, in general, I believe I learned a lot. I did not only grow academically, but also as a person. This is also because you get to be independent. When I am in my hometown, I have my “old” friends to study with and all the professors know me on a personal basis. The new environment was really challenging, but it was good.
I came to the Netherlands, because I wanted to do something new. Also, it is one of the few countries where psychology is taught in English; so practicality was also a motive. Whenever I would read something about the University of Groningen, I would see reviews about its diversity, international orientation, the “young” city and the large student population. It was exactly what I read about!
The whole “vibe” here in the Netherlands is very tolerant and open to many people. This energy is spread among the people who live here. I never felt like I was excluded from something or that I was unwelcome.
I would definitely recommend the city and the University to future students. Mainly because it is different from any other place I ever visited.
When I was studying for my exams, we would all go to the library and be there from 9 AM till 12 PM. It would be full with students and that was when I realized how safe I felt. I would feel the warmth and support of the group. Everyone was making sure that you were doing well. All of the students were working hard, which motivates you to do the same. I have spent a lot of time in that library.
I really liked this experience, in all its aspects.
This exchange program gave me the precious possibility of growing, both from an academical and personal perspective. I’ve studied in a very good university and attended very interesting courses.
I’ve been in contact with the Dutch culture, that I've appreciated a lot, especially for its open-mindedness and efficiency. I’ve enjoyed living in Groningen, from many points of view. For its being active and smart, its bikes everywhere, its parks, its architectural style, its cafés and pubs, its shops and its multiple events.
Here I’ve also had the chance to meet very nice people from all over the world, make new friends and gain awareness of the beauty of cultural differences. In the end, I’m very happy to have done this exchange experience and, if I had the possibility, I’d do it again!
My one year exchange at Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen Katarina Sabolova, Master Psychology Student
Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
currently at University of Groningen, The Netherlands
e-mail: sabolova.katarina gmail.com
During my one year exchange, I have been exploring the Groningen city, the university and its libraries, psychological theories, different coffee places, lovely people from all over the world and even living Dutch lifestyle in sense like “never leave your home without a bike”. An international environment, high-quality educational standards and experiencing courses together with exchange, but also locals students brings me a lot of learning points. I have realized how important are persistence and grit in order to follow my dreams and succeed. What I really like about the university is supportive environment such as Nestor platform, whereas weekly announcement for each course have been appeared, so it has been stimulating and motivating for me to work hard persistently. Today, I feel so grateful for all incredible experiences, people, moments and for the opportunity to study psychology at the University of Groningen, which I will definitely remember “for infinity”.
What strikes me most about life in Groningen is the relationship between the students and the local people. As an international student, you feel very welcome due to the really friendly and cozy vibe that the city brings. What I will cherish most about my time here is the opportunity I’ve had to make friends with people from all over the world and from all different walks of life. I would definitely consider coming here again to catch up with the great friends I’ve made or to further my studies!
I had a great time in Groningen - it was an amazing experience. I met lovely people and learned a lot. I would like to highlight particularly the very kind and professional support from the international office of the faculty. I can highly recommend to do an exchange in the Netherlands especially in the beautiful city of Groningen!
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