The Hanze and the RUG are working hard in order to welcome more international students to Groningen. By adjusting their curricula, they hope to receive an increasing number of applications by foreign students. Currently the Hanze and the RUG are both gradually changing the main language of the courses from Dutch to English. By developing a more international environment, both institutions are becoming more and more attractive for exchange students. The RUG hopes that by 2020 at least 20% of their students come from abroad.
Both the Hanze and the RUG participate in the Erasmusprogramme, which is a scholarship that makes it possible for students to go study overseas. Thanks to these programmes it is easier (and cheaper!) for students to go abroad and for Groningen to welcome more and more exchange students. Also important is that students who come to Groningen for their academic schooling don’t have to be afraid that their achievements won’t be acknowledged back home, thanks to mutual agreements.
The efforts that the Hanze and the RUG make are clearly paying off. For instance, last year the RUG had 78 applications from British students, in contrast to at least 186 applications for the academic year 2014/2015! And it’s not just the British that seem to be attracted to all the possibilities that Groningen has to offer. The majority of the exchange students are German, but also the amount of Brazilians that come to Groningen to study is steadily growing. As we speak there are over 5,000 foreign students studying at the RUG and enjoying the greatest student city in the Netherlands!
Aske Raaschou (24) is a Danish student, studying political science in Groningen for one semester. He explains: ‘I found the courses that were offered really interesting. Another good thing is the international environment. My father and friends had been in Groningen before, and upon letting them know that I wanted to study abroad, they told me about it. The city is full of students!’
That Groningen is becoming more of an international melting pot can easily be seen when strolling down the streets. Little coffeeshops and bars have their slogans written out in English and when you approach someone, don’t be too surprised if they speak Spanish. The presence of so many international students also proves once and again that cycling definitly is a Dutch habit and talent. Just sit around and watch chaos taking over as foreign students have their first encounters with the Dutch cycling traffic. Don’t worry though, you’ll learn quick enough!
Recent studies by the Dutch newspaper Trouw revealed that Groningen the most popular student city among internationals in the Netherlands! Of course, this only confirmed what all of us have known for a long time... And honestly, just ask yourself… Wouldn’t you love strolling past the magnificent Martinitower?
So in the next couple of years, Groningen expects a high amount of international students coming over. You might wonder where all of these people are going to live? Luckily we can promise you that there will be no housing problem if you plan to come over. The Dutch student-housing provider SSH, the Hanze and the RUG are busily cooporating to make sure you’ll find a perfect place to live! Together they commit to the housing of international students. Their website will launch on the 1st of November, so you might want to keep an eye on that!
By Anouk Theunissen
Photo by Nietnagel