The first steps by arrival
Congratulations, you just arrived in Groningen, either alone or with help of the Hanze pick-up service , which means you’ve chosen one of the greatest cities in the Netherlands to spend your study abroad! Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the information you’ve gathered before coming here?
GroningenLife! made a list of a few practical arrangements to be done by arrival:
1. Register as a citizen of Groningen
Every student staying in the Netherlands for four months or longer must register as a citizen of Groningen. This can be done in the City Hall, where you will be registered in their database. The International Office can assist you with any questions you might have about registration and other practicalities.
2. Find yourself a place to stay
Students that have arranged their housing in advance are lucky; they only need to look up their new home and are ready to go. However, it might be that you still need to search for a room when you arrive in Groningen. Although finding a place to stay might seem difficult, it is certainly not impossible! Students of the Hanze University and University of Groningen can apply for accommodation through the Housing Office. Another possibility is to search in the private market. Kamernet (link: www.kamernet.nl), one of the largest room search websites in the Netherlands, can help you in your search.
3. Get to know the public transport
Most citizens in Groningen choose the bike for their daily movement in and around the city. When you don’t want to be depended on time schedules of buses, the bike is the fastest way to move around. The infrastructure is completely made for it, as there are bicycle lanes throughout the city. You can buy a bicycle at one of the many bicycle stores in the city, or you can visit a market stable on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at the Vismarkt, which has reasonably priced second-hand bikes for sale every week. Next to that, there’s also a sale of second-hand bikes at the Oude Boteringestraat 18 twice a month. Dates can be found here.
4. Open a bank account
When you’re planning to study in Groningen for a longer time, it might be useful to open a Dutch bank account. When you have a Dutch bank account you will receive a bank card with a Personal Identification Number with which you can pay at any shop or store in the Netherlands. The Hanze University made an arrangement with the Rabobank, which makes it easier for foreign students to open a Dutch bank account. More information can be found here. Students of the University of Groningen can gain information and help through the International Office.
Once all the practicalities are arranged, it is time to really enjoy Groningen student life to the fullest. Join the ESN Introduction week and you’ll explore Groningen together with an ESN mentor and several other international students. Find out where to do your shopping and groceries, join a sport or international student association and certainly don’t forget to enjoy the nightlife of Groningen.
By: Petra Vledder