Yau Wing Yung, Anthea
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Bicycles, a lot of bicycles, is my first impression to Groningen. As the cycling capital of the Netherlands, bicycle is the main transportation tool for students travelling between campus and residence. Since I got my bike one week after arrival, I can tell my life in Groningen with a bike is simply better!
The student residence (the building in the first picture) is less than 10 minutes ride from the Zenike campus (this picture), much more doable than walking in the cold for 20 minutes. Moreover, it is way more convenient than taking bus. Our bikes can reach the exact building while the bus stops only at the main entrance of the campus.
Like many other exchange students, I do not have enough budget to buy a brand new bike. Therefore, a second-hand bike shop or the bike rental service provide us a perfect solution. For instance, I got this cute bike which is still in good condition with a chain lock for only 60 euros!
The student accommodation that I’m staying at is only available for exchange students. The people in these pictures are my flatmates. The pictures were taken in our common room, where we were about to have dinner together. Can you guess where we come from? Some of us are from Finland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, while the rest of us are from South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong! We’d love to learn more about each other and our different cultures, that’s why we decided to organize a group dinner each month!
In this picture, you can see many delicious dishes from different countries. It seems like most of us are master chefs! The most remarkable dish was from Indonesia – a pancake that is simply made with eggs and instant noodles. It tasted surprisingly good! I also fell in love with the pizza, salad and spicy pork. It was a wonderful night to try different food and get to know each other better.
‘The weekend is coming!’ is what every student says. Monday is the start of an intense week ahead. Since the weather in Groningen is always windy and cloudy during winter, a sunny day on the weekend is a good sign for us to explore the city.
After climbing 260 steps, we finally reached the top of the Martini Tower. Located in the heart of the city, Martini Tower is the highest church in Groningen. Thanks to building height restrictions, we could clearly see how this city looks without any tall buildings blocking our view. The view is really amazing, isn’t it? We could see people doing their grocery shopping at Grote Market, drinking beers with friends in open-air restaurants, and of course, cycling everywhere. Martini Tower is absolutely a must-go place to feel the peace and silence of Groningen!
Once again, thanks to building height restrictions and environmental protection, anywhere in Groningen could be perfect for stargazing. However, if you want to learn more about our incredible Universe, you shouldn’t miss the National Stargazing Days. The University of Groningen has arranged a series of events for this festival in the Blaauw Observatory. Both students and other visitors can stargaze through different telescopes with professional guidance. I feel like I’m more into astronomy after joining this event, and now I’m able to identify Jupiter and Orion!
(This picture was taken from the Duisenberg building on Zernike Campus, University of Groningen, showing a guest lecturer from International Business Supply Chain Marketing.)
After several weeks of observations during lectures and tutorials, I’d like to share the major differences of the education system between the Netherlands and Hong Kong. The first thing you should know is that each semester in the Netherlands is divided into two blocks, and each block lasts for around 7 weeks. Students are required to take 2-3 courses in a block and sit in an exam right after the end of the 7th week. If you unfortunately fail an exam, you can resit, which means you still have a second chance to pass!
(The tutor and I after the last tutorial session of Ethics in Business Management.)
Other than regulations, the atmosphere of tutorial sessions (especially for Ethics in Business Management) also got my attention. Most of the students liked to share their thoughts during discussions and the tutor always encouraged students with different nationalities to participate. The tutor believed that other cultures could offer a different perspective, and that’s how we learn! On top of that, he provided many lively examples for us to understand various concepts. I love attending his tutorials!
Time flies so fast. I can’t believe that I’ve already finished two final exams. This picture was taken in front of the Aletta Jacobs Hall where most of the examinations are held. I looked so tired here as I had just finished a three hour exam, but I still felt extremely excited since Easter holidays are around the corner! The end of Block 1 also reminded me that half of the exchange journey has already passed. Now it’s time to recharge and become more energetic for the rest of my journey!
The dorm I’m staying at in Groningen is really close to the Zernike campus, so it only takes around 10 minutes to arrive at campus by bike. Basically, every floor is separated into two sides, and each side contains 15 rooms. Each side shares one common room and two bathrooms. As the residence building is quite old, some facilities do not perform well. For example, 3 out of 8 cookers are broken and the lift door doesn’t close automatically, which is quite dangerous. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I’m really satisfied with – the size of my room! In fact, my single room is almost the size of a double room at the CityU residence. Therefore, if you can handle its old facilities, this residence located in Kornoeljestraat 2 could be a great choice!