This semester, 450 students from abroad are coming to Groningen to study here. To welcome them, ESN has organised the ESN introduction week for them. This is a week for Erasmus students to get to know Groningen, Dutch culture and each other. Beppie and me were lucky enough to join an ESN introduction group to find out what it’s like. So over the upcoming four days, we will tell you everything!
Unfortunately I had missed the first evening, but the only problem that caused, was that I couldn’t find the group at first. ‘We’ll meet at the Grote Markt’, is destined to fail, as there’s a lot going on on Saturday and the Grote Markt is pretty big. But after I had overcome that issue, everything felt as if I had always been with this group. Nationalities varied from Lithuania to U.S.A and from Korea to Canada. This could be interesting…
We headed towards the USVA, the cultural student centre of Groningen, to do some workshops. First up was the ‘cycling class’, in which we were taught all the important rules in Dutch traffic. I won’t repeat them to you, but we concluded that everyone should just buy a bike, as pedestrians basically have no rights.
Next was the ‘Happy dancing’ workshop, in which we were doing a remake of the videoclip ‘Happy’ by Pharell Williams. At first, I thought no one would be crazy enough to start dancing in the middle of the highstreet or on the market on a crowded Saturday afternoon. I was quite wrong there. In fact, I found myself shuffling in front of the Albert Heijn after not that long. And my other group members also didn’t seem to have a problem with it at all. It will take some time before the video is finished, but the result will surely be posted on groningenlife.com!
Last but certainly not least was the Dutch history workshop. It may sound dull, but it was actually more a comedian, summarizing what the crazy Dutch people had been doing the past 250.000 years, such as writing an anthem in which we ‘have always granted our loyalty’ to the enemy (?), considering a guy who is half French and half German to be the ‘founder of the Netherlands’ (??) and managing to sail around Australia without noticing it (??!). Even for it was me quite educational, but above all, embarrassing.
At night, we went to the ‘bands night’. They invited the two strangest bands I’ve ever seen. One band, which consisted of about eight Indian people, managed to somehow give a performance of ‘My heart will go on’ in the style of ‘Ai seo te pego’. It’s quite an experience to be jumping wildly up and down while Leo is drowning somewhere in the Atlantic. The other band was a rock band with a very interesting singer with even more interesting pants. I’m quoting someone I met there: If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong! However, the greatest thing was the Karaoke. We couldn’t leave without a Spice Girls performance. The song that summarised the entire evening was: Man, I love College!
By Lucia Grijpink