I could not be happier to have come to Groningen for my year abroad. This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I feel as though I have been so lucky to have met such amazing friends over here. If you have the option to go abroad I would really encourage that you go.
Where to fly
The main airport is Amsterdam Schiphol and there is a direct train under the airport which will take you to Groningen station. It takes just over 2 hours but check the NS App because there are longer trains that have changeovers as-well. Groningen does have a really small airport but not many places fly to it and it tends to be expensive.
What to do before you go
A lot of people going abroad will ‘wing it’ when it comes to accommodation; either getting a flat last minute or not sorting it until they arrive. I would strongly advise against this in Groningen. When I arrived last September there was a housing crisis that I wasn’t aware of and students were living in tents! The city is really small and the best student accommodations fill up fast! I would recommend going onto SSH Housing around May because they have large accommodations which are especially for Erasmus students (they are really popular so you need to look into this before summer). This is where I met most of my friends because these tend to be very social places to stay.
When you get there
One of the first things to do is get a bike. That is the main method of transportation as the buses are expensive and actually take longer. As well as that, everyone cycles to classes and night outs together so you don’t want to miss out on that. I would also suggest either getting an international bank card (like Monzo) or getting a Dutch bank account because not a lot of places take Visa or MasterCard.
In terms of the university itself the term runs a little differently. Rather than two semesters you have 4 blocks. Each block is 7 weeks of class then 3 weeks of exams so you have to make sure you are keeping up with your work at all times because it is so easy to fall behind. With regards to the social scene, I couldn’t recommend Groningen enough! It is such a stunning place and maintains its small ‘student town’ charm whist having lots of shops, bars and nightclubs. All around the centre and university there are little cafes and bars and the clubs here stay open until 6am. Almost everyone speaks English so you don’t need to stress over a language barrier either.