Joey Richardson

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University: University of Groningen

Course: Physics

Which year you are in: Second year

Home town in the UK: Manchester

1. Why did you choose to study abroad?

For two reasons: I always wanted to live abroad and I thought that the perfect time to do so would be when I went to university; and because the tuition fees in the UK seemed too high to me.

2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?

It was good - any questions I had were answered well. The university here does not get too involved in accommodation for students like they do in the UK (with student halls and stuff), but I managed to find a room fairly easily by myself.

3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?

The introduction was great - there were a lot of events, and also a separate introduction week for international students (as well as the main one for all students) which meant I met a lot of people early on. There were also introductions for the faculty, but I had to skip a weekend with other people taking my programme because of the introduction week for international students, which was a shame.

4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?

I felt sort of prepared - what surprised me most was the amount of study early on. In the UK I feel you don’t have to do much at all in the first year, but here it is the most important. It took some time to get used to balancing my study life and social life but once I got the hang of it it became pretty routine.

5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?

Good - but I don’t really have the experience of studying at a university in the UK so I can’t really compare. I guess a lot of lecturers at every university in the world are international, so I don’t think that differs much from elsewhere. The level of English is good, and studying with other students goes well. It is quite easy to form study groups here and it is quite normal for all students to help each other out. We have a group WhatsApp for everybody in our year of study and a lot of people plan to study together in that group, or share summaries in there.

6. Would you recommend studying abroad to someone your age who might never have thought about it before?

100% yes - it was the best decision I could have made. You are forced to move away from home, which can be difficult at first but it makes you a much more independent person. As well as this, I now have friends from all over the world, which I think it such an amazing thing.

7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?

Maybe to think more about what I will study and why, as I changed my programme (from Mathematics to Physics) after a year as Physics seemed a better fit for me. I think I could have made this decision before and not ‘wasted’ the year, but at least it did give me a chance to get used to the Dutch system, and living here.

8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?

Yes to all. My course is good, and the level of English is high. The university is highly ranked and very well organised, and they offer a lot of ways to also develop non-study things, such as working in student organisations and things like that. The city itself is awesome, it’s full of students and is such a fun city to live in, as there is stuff going on all the time.

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