"Amazing time in Groningen" Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., SUNY - College at Geneseo) for

SUNY Geneseo: Groningen - University of Groningen

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had the most amazing time in Groningen. At first I was sad to leave home and missed friends and family, but by the end I was in tears to be leaving the friends and family I made in Groningen. The school aspect was great and everything, but the best part was being able to travel all over Europe and making friends from Finland, England, Sweden, Poland, etc. The actual program was nice and the support from University of Groningen and Geneseo helped, but the best part was the places I went and the people I met. Overall, there is nothing I would change about the program. Studying abroad and maybe even because I was in Groningen has opened me up to the world and I find myself feeling more adventurous and open to putting myself outside of my comfort zone. My friends from Groningen plan to visit NY within the next year, and I plan to take another trip to Europe sometime in the next 2 years with the friends from Geneseo that also participated in the program.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The grading system is very different from what I am used to. There is only one test at the end of the block that determines whether you pass or fail. It was a big change because I am used to having weekly assignments, and getting constant feedback throughout the semester. The workload is fine as long as you can pace yourself and are self disciplined to keep up with the readings. The set up of the course is different too. They are organized in 2 blocks within each semester (block a, block b). So you have classes in block a for about 6 weeks, then in block b for another 6 weeks. And classes are usually only once a week for about 2 hours. It was nice because it left a lot of free time, and there were no classes on Fridays. Teachers were nice, but lectures were big (about 90-120 students in each). Definitely a change from the small class sizes at Geneseo.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Lisbeth Muda was available in the beginning during orientation. After that I didn't see her a single time in the remaining 5 months.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Albertine Agnesplein. It was in a great location, close to classes and the city center. But the room itself was nothing special. The kitchen was disgusting. But they're doing renovations right now so maybe in the fall it will be better. I would recommend future students live in Winschodterdiep, Blekerslaan, or Moestraat.

* Food:

Grocery stores have everything you need. Some nice restaurants in the city center.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

ESN (Erasmus Student Network) was great! You can sign up during intro week and it is definitely worth the 35 euros you pay to join. They organize a week of activities and have parties,dinners, and trips throughout the semester. It's a great way to meet other internationals, that's how I met all of my friends there! Also, I would encourage students to take the excursion course with Paul Van Steen, another great way to meet people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Apparently the insurance we purchased (for $450) didn't work in Groningen. Thankfully I never had to use it. Felt very safe the whole time I was 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Didn't learn dutch at all. Everyone spoke English once they knew we weren't dutch.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is great if you are looking to make friends from all over the world. Because it's an exchange and we actually attended the university there (not a satellite campus of our home university) we were in classes with internationals from all over. Although this was tough to get used to at first because we were bombarded with all of these different languages and cultures, I wouldn't have it any other way. You need to be open to a new experience that is likely out of your comfort zone. Be friendly and don't be shy! Everyone I met there was so nice and excited to meet Americans. You will ride a bike everywhere, which isn't as scary as it sounds. Be sure to join ESN, you'll get info on that at intro week. With ESN you'll be able to meet tons of Internationals from all over, and they have parties and events every week throughout the semester.