A Few Student Realities

17 May 2014 by Blog talent
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A Few Student Realities

I once read an article which claimed that being a student was like being an athlete. If this is the case, being an international student is like being an Olympic athlete. The phrase ‘work hard play hard’ is an attitude my friends and I live by. Not only does Groningen boast a wide variety of clubs and bars, taking a trip to another country or city is the norm on a weekend. Despite all this ‘play’, the University of Groningen has fostered my desire to learn everything and anything about different cultures and experiences. 

During my short time here I have learnt a few valuable life lessons which I hope will place you in good stead to prepare you for life as an international student.

  1. Cooking- it’s harder than you think! I know your mum makes pasta look easy but when you start setting fire to the plastic colander you will wish you took the cooking lessons more seriously 
  2. Riding a bike- In The Netherlands a bike is the best way to get around (despite what you might think on a cold winters morning); however there is a big difference between riding your bike round the block as a 10 year old, and riding your bike to university. Mainly when you fall off as a 20 year old your pride hurts just as much as your knee does. 
  3. Making new friends is easy- ESN introduction week is so much fun, every outing suddenly becomes a group activity. Those spontaneous nights out that were supposed to be a ‘quiet night in’ are always the best, and the midnight snack runs always result in some questionable food being bought from the infamous ‘food wall’. 
  4. Trying to find your way around is hard- I seriously advise staying in your chosen university city for a few days before lectures start to get a feel for the place. My total lack of sense of direction combined with a new city spelled total disaster. In my first week of lectures it would take me about 2 hours to get home because I would get so lost. Now it takes me 8 minutes. 
  5. Independence and a sense of freedom come hand in hand- Unlike school no one will hold your hand and tell you to go to classes, ‘non compulsory’ sounds like heaven at 9am on a Monday morning when your alarm goes off. But for every missed lecture there is an extra hour of study time later on, and when you’re not on the winning pub quiz team because you have to catch up on lecture notes you will regret it!
  6. Your bank account is not your friend- The first of the month when you look at your balance you might feel like a millionaire, but from experience I can tell you by the 20th you will be living off pasta (if you can cook it) and tinned tomatoes. 
  7. International friends-The friends I have made so far have been from all over the world, which whilst also giving me the opportunity to become integrated in different cultures, has the extra bonus of having free accommodation in their home country if I fancy a cheeky holiday!

So if you’re looking for fun, adventure, excitement (and a little hard work) then The University of Groningen is the place for you!

By Gemma