Studies: IBS (Exchange student)
Country: United States, 307 million inhabitants, 237 times bigger than the Netherlands
Loves: dancing, meeting new people
Hates: disappointing people, hangovers
Why did you choose to study in Groningen?
‘I came here because a friend studied here a year earlier and advised me to come as well. I was not sure where I wanted to go, but I knew for sure that I wanted to go to another country. My friend told me that the Netherlands was a good option because everyone speaks English, so I would not have the language barrier, and still have the chance to experience a completely different culture from what I am used to.’
How long have you been in Groningen?
‘I arrived in 2009. I did not know anyone, I was a bit afraid and I did not know what I was getting into. The first days were rough but after that it became very exciting, especially after the introduction week, when I met a lot of people. I fell in love with the country and the people. Then, I extended my studies for another semester, to the fall, and I loved it even more than before. Therefore, I decided to do a third semester at Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen. First I did a Minor in International Communication, and now I study at IBS.’
What do you like the most and the least in Groningen?
‘I love the night life, it is crazy. It is the only place where you can go out every night of the week, it is cheap and fun. I also love to meet new people in Groningen. In fact, I am in the pub quiz committee of ESN, where I am responsible for the questionnaire together with some Dutch students. It is fun and educational! What I like the least is the weather, it rains a lot. I was afraid that it could affect me a lot, but fortunately it has not been like that.’
What do you miss from the US?
‘Cheap shopping, America is a lot cheaper. Sometimes I also miss the familiarity of my country, being able to know what to do and how to do it. Although I have been here for one-year-and-a-half, I am still learning the processes of this country, the way people do things. One of the main differences is that Dutch people are pretty honest compared to American people. However, it is cool to meet straightforward people that do not beat around the bush. Despite the cultural differences, I get along very well with Dutch people.’
The main lesson you have learned while living abroad is…?
‘To deal with different cultures and to learn that not everyone thinks and does things the same way you do. I guess I have also learnt to be more patient and independent.’
Tania Ouariachi Peralta
Source: Hanze Mag