It wasn’t in my intentions to live in Groningen. Because of my English background I wanted to go and live during my student life in England more than anything else. My sister sent my application to the University of Groningen with me not even knowing about it. Some good universities in the UK accepted me but they weren’t specializing In my field(International Relations & Politics) so I chose Groningen.I don’t believe in fate so I consider that this was one of the best coincidence’s ever happened to me.
Must be some kind of a joke
I arrived here at 5 o’clock in the morning and the taxi driver left me in a dark narrow street in the city centre.I was too tired to disagree about the value of the fare so I just gave him the 20 euros he asked for a 1km distance. I looked at the 16th century building that now is home to a pub and I had the feeling that I would see Shakespeare walking down the street. Exhaustion gave its please to curiosity so I just took a walk around town while the sun was coming out. In general terms, Groningen is more or less in the same pattern as any other dutch town: an isle in the middle surrounded by 4-5 pieces of land. But there was a magic I had never experienced in any other town in the Netherlands during my past two visits. I felt that the whole medieval to renaissance atmosphere was in perfect harmony with the 21st century Dutch sophistication.
And then the university comes in the picture. The second oldest academic institution in the Netherlands celebrating 400 years in 2014 recently was ranked 94th in the QS world university rankings, with the stunningly beautiful 17th century Academy Building surrounded by the library and Harmonie Complex(Law and Arts building). Over 20 bachelor and around 120 (and 10 more coming soon) masters degrees in English, give Groningen an international vibe. To be honest there are still issues that have to be solved e.g. Student housing or the organization level in some master degrees but apart from these, especially for a bachelor student, RUG (rijksuniversiteit Groningen) can compete neck to neck worldwide with other universities.Let us not forget that for example their International Relations programme is one of the best in Europe promoting learning via debating.
What you’d expect from a town with a population of 190,000 and 50,000 students. Plenty of clubs if you’re a party animal that loves to “jam” on this kind of places or if you’re in the other scale of personality there is huge number of live jazz venues, chillout bars, pubs or even decent quiet bars where you can just have a cold pint while relaxing. As a university lecturer said”you can go to a different place every day and still you won’t be able to visit all bars in Groningen in one year… and that’s not a challenge dear first year students.
Groningen is the ideal place for anyone to live. It’s not a coincidence that this town is third in terms of quality of life and citizen happiness in Europe. When you are a student here,you just feel nice because even after a long hard day in the Library,you smile while walking back home accompanied by the Martini Tower bell melodies.Thanks sister for sending the application without telling me.
What’s special about Groningen is that it’s unique. It’s a good size city, with plenty going on. However, its citizens seem not to be aware of this uniqueness, considering their city to be an ordinary one.’ But Gregory Ashworth will never take Groningen for granted. Groningen is best kept secret.
said, Gregory Ashworth, Former Lecturer in the University of Groningen.