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International Blog: John Baumgartner

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  • 3 minuten (673 woorden)

Dear TeMa members,

My name is John Baumgartner and I’ve been studying in Groningen for over three years now. I have lived abroad nearly my entire life, up until I moved back home to Finland where I completed high school. I knew that I had no intentions of studying my tertiary education in Finland, mainly because I felt as though I was raised as a third culture kid and never really truly felt at home in Finland. I also wanted to continue studying in English, as I had done previously during my youth. However, the options to fully study English, and to do so in Finland, were very limited. The two other national languages, Finnish and Swedish, largely dominated most of the bachelor programmes offered in Finland.

Initially, I had never heard of Groningen or even considered studying in the Netherlands. Fortunately, for me, my older sister had decided to start studying in Groningen a few years prior to me completing my high school education. It was during my summer break, after my second year in high school, that I finally had my first opportunity to visit my sister in Groningen. My visit was coincidentally during the same time the FIFA 2014 World Cup took place, which I soon came to realise was a big deal in the Netherlands. (The Finns have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but we’re pretty decent in ice hockey though!) I packed my bags and began my journey, spending half a week exploring Groningen and everything it had to offer.

I didn’t really have any expectations of the city prior to visiting and was curious to see how student life in the Netherlands was in comparison to Finland. I spent my first evening in Groningen watching the Netherlands play against Spain during the group stages of the World Cup. I remember the match being broadcasted on the large outdoor cinema which was placed at the Vismarkt. Fortunately, for me, the Netherlands dominated the game which definitely created a great atmosphere throughout the whole evening. This was something new to me as I had never really experienced that sort of ambience in any other city I had visited in the past. I still clearly remember how the crowd erupted after Robin van Persie scored the flying dutchman goal, which definitely became the highlight of the night for me. The rest of my trip consisted of exploring the city and its landmarks as well as becoming acquainted with Dutch culture, food (mostly snack bars) and nightlife. Moreover, I enjoyed the company of the Dutch as those that I met during my visit were social, friendly and genuinely open-minded. I also liked the structure of the city in general as everything felt small and convenient but in reality, the city is quite large when compared to its population size. Furthermore, I noticed Groningen being especially student-oriented, as one-fifth of its population are students. All in all, I realised after my trip that I definitely wanted to pursue my bachelor's degree in Groningen and doing so became one of the best choices I’ve made in my life.

After completing my bachelor's degree in International Business I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management. I also decided to apply as an active member of TeMa and have been fortunate enough to be part of the International Committee since October. My main reason for joining TeMa was to meet new students studying in similar fields, and that is exactly what I have been able to do. TeMa organises several socials as well as informative events throughout the year which is a great way to meet new people and have fun doing so. Becoming a member has definitely enhanced my student life experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I am looking forward to organising and attending more of TeMa’s events in the near future and hope more international students would be inclined to join as well!

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