So for those of you who don’t already know I have moved to a small little student city in the north of Holland called Groningen to study International Relations and International Organisations at the University of the Groningen.
I’ve been here for no more than a few weeks and it’s already been the best decision of my life. I learnt more in these last 2 weeks about life in the real world and my self, than I’ve learnt in the last 2 years. Although it hasn’t all been easy it has been enjoyable and for those of you who are thinking about doing the same thing I have decided to offer a few tips.
Research everything and anything you can about your future new city and/or your new university. It will help you be the best prepared you can and prevent anything shocking you and throwing you off guard when you arrive.
2. Learn the language
Don’t except for everyone to speak perfect English and for it to be easy for you to find your way around without knowing the basics of the particular country’s language. Learn as much as possible it will make your adjustment so much easier and the natives will appreciate your drive for picking up the language even if you don’t get all the pronunciation down like a pro. There is a multitude of really easy apps for you to get on your phone to learn on the go. I found Duolingo the best app for practicing the basics and grammar.
3. Embrace being a tourist
Now this may be a hard thing for you to do, (I know it is especially hard for us Londoners out there). It’s important for you to embrace the fact that you are going to be the tourist who needs to ask for directions and take embarrassing pictures at every major tourist sight. You aren’t going to know you way around in a week and that’s okay soak in the whole experiencing, explore your new surroundings and enjoy it!
4. Go out of your comfort zone
Try new foods, listen to new music, find a new favourite radio station and do all the thing that your typically wouldn’t do. It will make your stay so much better and give you so many great stories to tell. You will discover so many new things about your self and your capabilities plus it will make your studies much more eventful.
5. Make friends
And make as many as possible. Don’t be too scared to put your self out there and introduce your self to new people, it will shock you how much you will have in common and you never might know when you just might need them.
6. Keep in contact with home
You will probably miss home but here is a little secret home will most definitely miss you. Don’t just think because you’re in a new city that it is an excuse to cut of ties will your old life back home. With Skype, Rabbit ,Facebook and Instagram it’s never been more simple to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. Make a call home every week just to let mum know your okay, check in with an a friend every now and them, you won’t regret it and they will be very appreciative that your haven’t just forgotten them.
7. Document everything
These are going to be the best times of your lives so make sure you have loads of memories to look back on. Pictures, videos, even a little diary will make sure you can tell these stories to your future grandchildren.
8. Make mistakes
You won’t get everything down as fast as you think you might do. You probably will blow all your money on all the nights out in the first week;buy food at the supermarket before finding out that the market is so much cheaper; burn your food in the new oven. But the only way to grow is to make mistakes.
9. Keep up with the work
Although there is more to a study aboard than just uni work it is important for you to keep up with the reading and do the assignments. Yes its great to have fun but you are there to study so don’t forget that.
10. Make time for yourself
In this whirlpool of new experiences it is so easy to forget about your self in the mix. It’s so important that you set aside time for your self to catch up on that sleep, give your self a little pampering or just even little time alone in bed with Netflix. It will keep you revived and there is nothing more important than making sure your mental health is in good shape.
11. Have fun
I don’t think this needs much explanation.