“Can I take this?” Internationals in Groningen

gepubliceerd : 09 October 2013

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Our promostand in front of the imposing Academybuilding of the University of Groningen was almost up and running. A sound from the right, a swift look at that direction and around the corner of the Mr. Mofongo – an awesome bar with a robotarm which actually taps your drinks – came the first international students. The first of a couple of hundreds – that, as befits a smooth introduction day, eagerly walked over to the stands. Did I say there were a lot? Yeah, a lót of internationals. Hell yeah!

Craziness, an infinity of questions and above all a lot of enthusiasm gave color to this wonderful introday. It was the Welcoming Day of the ‘Rijksuniversiteit Groningen’ (The University of Groningen) to familiarize all the new international students of Groningen with the city of the North. Aside from a couple of opening speeches, a lunch and workshops, students could visit various stands of the information market to get to know, for instance, the international student association ESN. But also to get acquainted with the Dutch police – the stand next to ours. They also constantly answered this question: “Where can I buy a bike?”.  Groningen is internationally known as a city where you’ve gót to have a bike. In fact, for a lot of internationals the bike is kind of a business card for our city.

Yet the most striking was the eager manner in which practically all of you snatched away our gadgets! GroningenLife!-coasters, -tape-measures and –lip balms disappeared like hot cakes in the kindergarten. And absolutely, that is the whole intention. But sometimes, we got the modest question: “Can I take this..?”. The answer was simple: “Of course you can, help yourself!”. And that you did. Placing new lip balms on the table was received with various cheers, throwing a coaster through the air resulted in reactions that got me thinking of Lenny Kravitz who once threw his sweaty underpants in the Scottish audience, and the measuring-tapes actually provided for a couple of hilarious scenes because of the imprinted text: “how big is your talent?”. Yep, enthusiasm.

The Welcoming Day at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences took place a couple of days later, after which the ‘international community’ in Groningen was again complete. English is not only a language that is necessary at the RUG and the Hanze, but more and more in the city itself. Groningen simply is an international city. And because of this, we are looking for international bloggers for our website! During the Welcoming Days internationals could write down their names if they were interested, and again: enthusiasm! Keep checking out our website to see who have become our new talented bloggers…

By Rients Verschoor