I wish I never had to leave!! Past Review

By (History And Anthropology, SUNY - College at Geneseo) - abroad from 02/01/2012 to 07/12/2012 with

SUNY Geneseo: Groningen - University of Groningen

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There is so much i learned from my experience that I could hardly sum it up in a few lines. It was the best experience of my time in college.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Not as academically rigorous or challenging as i thought it might be, not nearly as challenging or stimulating as my home university. But the professors were all incredibly nice, and the resources of the libraries were great, especially for English speakers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

A little confusing and haphazard but the individual international student advisers were fantastic, super hardworking, and very helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing here can really be 50/50 as far as the quality, and the housing for international students is operated by a private company, not the university, and that can be a hassle. My first housing assignment was kind of awful - very far from the city (40 mins walk), dirty, a huge building with 8 floors of students but individual rooms were very small and cramped. I moved, though, two months into my stay to another building and it was perfect. I had a great student manager, the buildings were clean, smaller and more personal, my room was large and nice, and living in that environment with so many other international students was one of the best experiences of my time there.

* Food:

Food in Groningen in general is very good, slightly expensive, but there's so much good fresh food available in general. There are a couple restaurants/canteens in the larger academic buildings that are pretty good, but there isn't anything like a dining hall or a meal plan like we are used to here in the states.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't personally have any health issues, but a friend of mine did, and everything went fine. Geneseo offers great temporary travel health insurance, and furthermore, in most of the pharmacies you can get a lot of help, the pharmacists there are super knowledgeable, and I didn't met a sing one who didn't speak English fluidly, and many drugs are available over-the-counter that are prescription here, so if you know what you need, it's very easy to get them.

* Safety:

I felt very safe there, pretty much all the time. In my first house, I had to walk 40 mins to get to or from the city center everyday, and I always felt perfectly safe. The biggest problem, I think, is with bicycle theft, everyone has a bike, so theft is pretty common if you don't take the right precautions. Also, there are a small number of junkies who will steal bikes and try to sell them to you late at night for 5 or 10 euros, but they're not aggressive, and not much of an issue. Basically there's the same safety issues that you would find in any small city, but on a much, much smaller scale. I felt very safe there.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

It was definitely a bit more expensive living there than I expected, or than it is living on a student's budget in the states. I didn't keep track of my weekly spending though.

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? maybe 60 or 70 euro a week, not including rent.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you can, pay your rent all at once at the beginning of your stay. I didn't do that, so I had an unrealistic expectation of how much money I had to spend, because I didn't take into account the money I needed to spend on rent.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Living with other international students was absolutely fantastic
  • The freedom to travel around the country and the continent
* What could be improved?
  • Support from the actual university for international and exchange students could have been more extensive
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You're gonna want to adjust yourself to your new surroundings and take it slowly, but just jump right in there, you don't want to waste any of the time you have there.