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The Best Decision I Made After Coming to Groningen

I don’t usually get personal in these posts, but I think this one is a valid exception. In writing this post, I’d like to share with you the best decision I made after coming to this lovely city. I come from a small non-EU country and have a background in English language and literature. Being able to attend the RUG and complete my MA here has been a real dream come true for me and I’ve always wanted to live somewhere like the Netherlands for as long as I can remember. Coming here on my own and leaving my country for the first time was a little (or very) scary. New place, new people, new language, new culture, new school, new everything. I had to get used to everything new like cycling everywhere even when it rains, complaining about the trains when they are late, trying not to look into Dutch living rooms when they don’t have their curtains drawn, etc. One decision I made in August changed my life in Groningen for the better.

In the last week of August, I decided I wanted to apply to join ESN as an active member. By that point, I had already attended a couple of ESN events before Intro Week, and I had already applied to Intro Week as well. Months before I came to Groningen, I read about ESN Groningen and everything they do for international students in the city. I thought they were the perfect place to meet new people, and I was right. From my first-ever event until today, I’ve met dozens, if not over a hundred, fellow students who I consider my friends. However, I didn’t consider applying to be an active member until I was convinced by some very persistent ESN members (you know who you are). A few emails and weeks later, I found myself at an interview, and before long, I was part of ESN Groningen’s PR and Graphics Committee.

Even if you think the committees aren’t for you (they definitely are if you’re interested), you should still join ESN as a member. When you’re a member, you have access to all sorts of events where you can have fun, relax, and meet new people, which is half (or sometimes more) of what it means to be a student. Trust me when I say this, ESN has a spot for everyone. For example, I don’t really like to go clubbing or partying. ESN has events that are for people who do, but there are also events like Pub Quizzes, International Dinners (my favourite), Excursions, and more. If I can guarantee one thing about ESN, it’s that it has a lot to offer to everyone. 

I don’t want to bore you with my ESN stories, so I’ll just finish with my thoughts on the whole thing. If you’re in need of friends or something to fill your weekdays and weekends with fun activities, look no further. By joining ESN, you’ll be able to take trips across the Netherlands and Europe with other internationals, experience a lot of different cultures, go to amazing parties and events, and so much more. Don’t forget to check out the podcast and the other blog posts on here as well! We are an organization run by students for students. There’s nothing like it in Groningen and I don’t regret joining one bit.

~ Written by A. Heric