As an international student, you will have the luxury of two introduction weeks before you start your program. The KEI-week, the largest introduction week in Europe, will literally rock your world (kei means ‘rock’). The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Introduction Week takes place in September, and is specifically geared towards international students.
In this digital age, you’ve surely seen dozens of pictures of Groningen already, and have probably Google-mapped your prospective house to get an impression of the surroundings. But nothing beats the knowledge of an insider, someone who can tell you exactly where to buy a cheap bike, or which hotspots to frequent during a night on the town. Both weeks are organized to introduce you to a maximum amount of facilities and locations, but all have fun and meeting new people as the main purpose.
The KEI-week will start by having dinner with your KEI-group, at the home of one of your group leaders. After that, each day has a new theme, from sports to singing to culture. Want to know if a student organization is something for you? You and your KEI-group—which consists of around fifteen other students and two or three senior students—can have dinner at one of their houses, so you can talk to current members. Not sure if ping pong or martial arts is more fun? Sample all sports at the student sport facility, ACLO. At night, you will become acquainted with the city’s nightlife, the variety of its pubs, and you’ll watch a movie on the Vismarkt with 4000 other students. A massive screen and your own brought-along chairs will ensure a movie going experience that you’ll not easily forget. The program is non-mandatory, so if you feel like sleeping in one morning to prepare for the night activities, that’s no problem. This is a great way to experience all that Groningen has to offer with all other first years, 4500 participants in total.
ESN Groningen organizes an introduction for 900 international students. Your group leaders, two in total, will be Dutch, and you will be divided into groups of approximately twelve people. They will take you bike shopping, on a pub crawl, and you will get a free SIM-card for your phone: the opportunities are endless, and again, you will make lifelong friends here by way of bonding through activities. Want to know how to order a beer (“biertje!”) or how to navigate your bike through the busy Groninger streets? Where to find the best stand-up comedy shows in English? You have to sign up for the introduction week by attending one of the signup-days, which will take place in both University of Groningen buildings and Hanze University of Applied Sciences buildings. ESN will announce the specific dates on their website.
Groningen will be a rollercoaster of fun, first stop: introduction week!