(NOT) Home for the Summer

3 July 2022

The warm and sunny months are officially here, and with the last few course grades coming out and resits being done, all the students are coming closer to the well-deserved summer holiday! For a lot of students, this summer holds the potential to compensate for the last two years filled with Coronavirus news. This year, while the cases are still very much present, more rules are being eased out which makes it so much easier for everyone, not having to arrange all kinds of testing along with the added costs.

Especially for international students, the summer months often mean going home and being able to meet up with friends and family you haven’t seen in months. Tickets have been booked, and everyone is excited. However, for those not going home and planning to stay for the summer, you can turn the holiday season into yet another unforgettable summer! Here are some ideas you can do with fellow friends to make the most out of the summer break:

Travel to Germany with the 9 Euro Tickets

Our close neighboring country, Germany, currently has the promotion of 9 Euros tickets to travel throughout the country for the whole month of June, July, or August. The country did this to cushion rising fuel and living costs, allowing everyone (both German and non-German residents) to travel by buses, trams, subways, light rail, and regional and regional express trains. Certain ferry connections in Berlin and Hamburg are also included. The ticket can be easily bought from the Deutsche Bahn (DB) Navigator App on the mobile phone! Take advantage of this by planning some impromptu visit or trip to one of the German cities!

Explore the historical sides of Groningen

While we might think we know the city already by being a student here for the past year(s), we might have missed some of the interesting spots of the city. You can spend some time climbing up the Martinitoren (Martini Tower), and visit the Hortus Botanicus Garden in Haren. The Prinsentuin is the perfect place for you to come to just enjoy the sun and sit by one of the chairs to read a book. The Forum has amazing film choices in their cinema, which you can watch for 9 euros as a student. You have probably heard about Noorderplantsoen and the DOT or the Stadsstrand as the places everyone goes to for some picnics and a quick dip. However, the Stadspark and Oosterpark might be a good alternative for the two places when you want a place slightly less packed. Another personal favorite of mine is to visit the Kardingerplas, a rather quieter place compared to the DOT, while not being too far from the city either!

Do you know that Groningen is the house to some interesting museums too? Besides Groninger Museum, you can also visit Universiteitmuseum Groningen (the University Museum), Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum (Northern Maritime Museum), Noorderlicht Photogallery, Grafisch Museum Groningen (GRID Graphic Museum), and Galerie Mooiman. Moreover, the Aa Kerk by Akerkhof often holds interesting events you might want to visit! 

Cheap flights, FlixBus, and Interrailing

As a non-European, myself, one of the things that continue to amaze me is how connected Europe is between each country. Back home in Indonesia, traveling for 3 hours by bus means I am going just to a neighboring city within the same island, while doing it here means I am probably already crossing the German border going to Hamburg. There are several options for you to travel, from flying, going by bus, or train. For flying, I always opt for skyscanner.nl to help me choose the cheapest destinations on the selected dates. Airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet, and Wingsair are also among those who often have Summer Sales on their websites. For closer destinations from Groningen such as France, Belgium, and some big cities in Germany, I always rely on FlixBus. You can pick the times when the bus goes at night and arrive at the destination in the morning, ready to start the trip!  

Another famous option for many is the Interrail! Interrailing allows you to visit multiple countries in a certain period by train! Ranging from 4 days within 1 month, up until a full 3 months period can be chosen, depending on the length of the visit and the number of countries you want to visit. Summer is the perfect time to go backpacking with some friends and explore some of the 33 European countries' train networks within Interrail. 

NS Spoordeelwinkel

Thinking of exploring The Netherlands instead? You can take advantage of the NS Overnachting promo, where they offer you return train tickets, hotel, and sometimes breakfast included in one go! This is a perfect money-saving option for you who want to do one-night trips with no stress.  You can access the website to visit big cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Maastricht, or visit rather smaller ones like Amersfoort, Leeuwarden, and Arnhem. 

If you don’t feel like staying the night and instead of wanting to only visit for a day, NS also has the option to do so. Through their website, you can choose cities like Nijmegen, Enschede, Deventer, Utrecht, or Leiden, which include a drink, an option of sandwich or wrap, and return tickets. 

Whether you are going home (or home home / thuisthuis, as the Dutch say it ;)) for the summer or not, this summer will bring you so many new memories and experiences! Plan your dream European summer now and enjoy the sun and warm weather while it's out. Happy holiday!