One of the most frequently asked questions when I tell someone about my study is “so what so you actually do? What do you actually study?” This makes sense, since the concept of Liberal Arts and Sciences has only existed in The Netherlands for a decade. To answer the question, I often explain the general idea of Liberal Arts and Sciences and tell people my ideas for the future. If it’s still not clear, I tell them an example of how a day in my life as a Liberal Arts and Sciences student and this usually clears things up quite a bit. By giving people an idea of how a day in your life looks like, they understand the entire picture a lot better. So, for all the people curious about Liberal Arts and Sciences, here’s a day in my life, as a University College Groningen student.
Last week’s Tuesday was a beautiful day in Groningen: sunny, 16 degrees, and the wind was laid down. I started my Tuesday by biking to my gym (Fit For Free) and getting a good workout in. I’ve been going to the gym for years now, and Tuesday’s are one of my favourite days, because I get to train back and biceps. I worked out for an hour and a half, got changed, and went to school.
My first class was at 11:00; a perfect time to start the school day. This class was Social Psychology, one of my chosen electives this block. On Monday’s, we have lectures in which we discuss the required readings and the content of the week. On Tuesday’s, we follow a deepening session in which we put our knowledge from Monday’s lecture into practise. This means making a presentation about the topic, discussing the topic in groups, doing an assignment about the topic, or researching a specific part of the topic. This really helps you remember the discussed content and makes the topics more alive for you. One thing I love about Liberal Arts and Sciences education: the interaction between teachers and students and the combination of theoretical lectures and more practical deepening sessions. In Social Psychology, we discussed multiple ways of conducting experiments in this field, did an assignment about this topic, and presented our findings to the class. Through this active class, we were acquainted to different ways of conducting experiments and also got a chance to improve our assignment and presentation skills.
Afterwards, I went to have lunch with a friend of mine. Groningen is the perfect city to go out for lunch dates: lunch cafés are everywhere! I would recommend Il Gusto, a little business in the Oude Kijk in het Jatstraat, where they sell thirty different sandwiches and every single one of them is enormously delicious. I had the afternoon off, so afterwards I went home to do some studying. Exam weeks are coming up, so I’m summarizing and reviewing some content for the exams.
In the evening, I had dinner with some unit friends. At University College Groningen, the first year students live together in a student housing building called Frascati; right next to the train station. A great benefit from living together is becoming this community where you know everyone and do all sorts of activities together. This evening I had dinner with people living in my unit, which is something that is often done. My Italian unit friend made some pasta, so it was delicious; one enormous perk of living together with internationals!
After dinner, I went to my Arabic class. University College Groningen has been collaborating with the World Language Centre since last year, in order to provide UCG students with the opportunity to learn a new language for free. When I began studying, they offered Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese, but next year, we’ll have even more: Russian and Dutch are added. This isn’t mandatory; it’s an option for students interested in learning a new language. It is a great opportunity, since you can study a new language with fellow UCG students without paying anything! The classes are small and therefore very interactive. You learn the basics of the language: writing, speaking, reading, and listening. A great possibility for people interested in international relations or just interested in being able to speak another language.
During my Arabic class, there was an activity going on organised by the social committee of Caerus. Caerus is UCG’s very own study association. There are a lot of committees connected to Caerus: a social committee, a travel committee, a sports committee, a bar committee, etc. etc. etc. This evening, the social committee organised a pub quiz for UCG students. It sounded like much fun and when I finished Arabic, I joined them. It was a great evening with loads of fun. You can really see the community influence in settings like this: everyone knows each other, the atmosphere is very comfortable and nice, and there’s a lot of jokes. Activities like this are organised almost every week by different committees. Up next is the hitchhiking competition organised by a collaboration between the social committee and the travel committee. I’m already very excited!
When I got home, I was tired after this busy, but super fun day. I chatted with a girl in my unit for a bit and then went to sleep. The next way was going to be an equally fun day, with a lot of things scheduled. Generally, all of my days are similar to this one: an academic class, a social event, doing something with friends, having dinner with fellow students, and studying. It’s a good combination of fun and studying; something that’s really valued at UCG. Good combinations of fun and serious business 😊
By Josien Scholing