By Marieke – Third year student at UCG
My final project at UCG deals with social integration of international students in the city of Groningen. Groningen is a real student city and also has many internationals students. As you might understand, moving to a foreign country is on one hand very exciting, but on the other hand, it could also be difficult sometimes because you are far away from home. The municipality of Groningen is therefore interested in knowing how the international students in Groningen are doing and whether they feel part of the city and the student life. The municipality commissioned this research question to students of UCG, and I found this very interesting since we have many international students at UCG. I became interested in knowing our internationals feel about social integration with the city of Groningen. The final product of the project needs to be a recommendation for the municipality how they could improve social integration of international students in the future.
Together with Tjitske, also a third year student, we set up our own project in order to investigate how international feel about social integration. We decided to do a case study at UCG since we have a nice community of international students coming from many different countries that all have different opinions about this particular topic. We had many interesting talks with students about this topic and many highlighted the fact that they did not know what the KEI-week was or were not in Groningen yet when this was happening. Furthermore, several students stated that Dutch people are very open to international and are proficient in English which really contributes to the integration of students. Finally, many students mentioned that they enjoy being part of a sport or student associations since this helps them in making new friends and experiencing the student life of Groningen.
At the moment, we are finishing up our project and will write the final recommendation for the municipality. So far, it has been a very interesting project and has contributed in getting to know the international students that study at UCG. On June 19th, we will present our project and findings at the presentation day of UCG. During this day all project groups from all the three years will talk about their projects and we will end the academic year of 2016-2017 with a big barbecue.