My name is Christopher Anthony, I am from Johannesburg, South Africa and I’m a first year at the University College Groningen.
When I first found out I was going to study in the Netherlands, feelings of excitement and anxiety hit me. I mean studying abroad can be a very daunting thought. I was initially scared of the differences in culture and even the language barrier, which nearly put me off moving my whole life not only to a new country but a whole different continent. Leaving my friends and family behind I was met by the friendly UCG community. The family created by staying with my peers in the Frascati building has not only made me felt welcomed but embraced by the Dutch culture.
The language barrier is somewhat still an issue, but most people in the Netherlands are affluent in English to a certain degree, allowing for a social life outside of the UCG family. Groningen is a vibrant student city, allowing students to party more than they should but still allowing for a friendly working environment, which includes a Starbucks linked to the main university library. The past three months have pasted me by in a flash. I have made friendships, which I think will last a lifetime. University College has connected me with top lecturers and professors, which I would have never had access to back in South Africa and for that I am thankful. University College Groningen has managed to create a warm, friendly environment for both Dutch and international students. No one feels out of place and we celebrate our diversity. I can gladly call Groningen my second home thanks to the friendly people and the community UCG has built in such a short time.
Christopher Anthony – First year student ambassador