The University of Groningen has welcomed over 2,300 international students at its Welcoming Ceremony at De Oosterpoort on Thursday 31 August. The day included speeches by Nobel Prizewinner Prof. Ben Feringa and alderman Roeland van der Schaaf from the Municipality of Groningen as well as an information market and a drinks reception.
The University of Groningen welcomes students of 120 different nationalities each year. The Welcoming Ceremony is an important and much appreciated introduction. Foreign students have more than once chosen the University’s introduction as one of the best welcomes in the Netherlands, not least due to its welcoming committee that spends two days awaiting new arrivals at Schiphol Airport. The Welcoming Ceremony has undergone considerable growth in recent years, and this has led to the decision to stage it at cultural centre De Oosterpoort.
The Ceremony started at 1 p.m., and the opening speakers were Professor Sibrand Poppema, President of the Board of the University, alderman Roeland van der Schaaf and Adiëlla Boot, President of ESN 2017-2018. This official welcome was followed by an information market about student facilities and associations, and sport and cycling workshops. Information was provided about practical matters, such as study support, safety, insurance, bank accounts, healthcare and so on. The most important motivational speaker for the new students was Professor Ben Feringa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016. A drinks reception was held with live music at around 4.30 p.m.
The number of international students and staff at the University of Groningen is increasing every year. The University encourages this development in all sorts of ways: by improving the facilities, using more English and working on the University’s international positioning. About 30 Bachelor’s degree programmes and the majority of the Master’s degree programmes are English taught. The number of ‘regular’ foreign students (who are studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree) at the University has increased by about 10% in recent years, to the present figure of 5,500. Then there are about another 800 students who spend a shorter time here, on an exchange programme for instance, not to mention the PhD students.
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