Internationals feel excluded from student life in Groningen

Internationals feel excluded from student life

Internationals are feeling excluded from Groningen student life since the dominant language is Dutch, so says an investigation published by the Groninger Studentenbond (GSb) on Tuesday.
23 June om 15:31 uur.
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23 June om 15:31 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 24 June 2020
om 11:09 uur.
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June 23 at 15:31 PM.
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‘We’ve found that the connection between international and Dutch students isn’t always great’, says GSb chair Jan Willem Leeuwma. The union asked 335 students, 189 internationals and 146 Dutch students, to what extent they feel ‘part’ of student life. The investigative report says that Dutch students are much happier with their social life than internationals are. The language barrier makes the latter feel excluded. 

More language courses

‘The results aren’t that surprising’, says Leeuwma. ‘It’s been an issue for much longer, but it’s good to have it in writing.’ The GSb has advised the UG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences to work harder to decrease the language barrier for internationals. They feel the schools should offer more language courses, for example. The current ones fill up quickly and are only scheduled at night.

The GSb also feels student associations should do more to welcome students who don’t speak Dutch. A lot of social clubs only speak Dutch, and neither their websites nor their advertisements are available in English. Many of the international respondents said they’d love to join an association, but that there are few options for students who don’t speak Dutch.

Social networks

While most Dutch students speak perfectly fine English, the respondents did say they can express themselves better in Dutch, which is why they prefer speaking their mother tongue. 

Dutch students also feel less motivated to add international students to their friend group, since they’re already part of various social networks. They’ll have friends left over from high school and can easily go back to their parents’ house for a weekend, while international students don’t know anyone here and end up making friends with other internationals who are in the same boat. 

Housing

GSb says the housing situation that Groningen students face contributes to the gulf between the two groups. Because students don’t all live together on a campus and are responsible for finding their own housing, international students are at a disadvantage. The union has asked the UG and Hanze to reconsider creating campus housing and to in the meantime inform internationals about the ins and outs of interviewing for a room. 

Arts faculty explores renovation or move

All programmes in one location

Arts faculty explores renovation or move

The Faculty of Arts is in need of better housing. It is currently exploring possibilities to renovate or move the faculty.

25 February om 16:16 uur.
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om 12:23 uur.
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25 February om 16:16 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 February 2020
om 12:23 uur.
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February 25 at 16:16 PM.
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at 12:23 PM.
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The Harmonie complex, which houses most of the arts faculty, no longer meets the demands of its users. Facilities manager Rein van den Bos they aspire to renovate the complex. ‘We working on a meticulous plan with an external adviser. It would be great if we could renovate the building. But theoretically speaking, all options are open.’

During a breakfast session on February 14, student assessors, programme committee members, study association representatives and the faculty board were given the opportunity to express their wishes for the new faculty. There will be other opportunities to contribute. 

Law is moving

The arts faculty is currently spread out across buildings in the city centre, but the change would corral all programmes in the same building. ‘It would make it easier for the staff to work together more closely’, says Van den Bos. The visibility of the faculty is another factor. 

The Faculty of Law, also partially housed in the Harmonie complex, will be moving to the old public library building in the Oude Boteringestraat in 2023. Plans for the new housing for the arts faculty should be finished and approved by then. 

Harmonie tightens laptop ban enforcement in cafeteria

‘No studying between 12 and 2’

Harmonie tightens laptop ban enforcement in cafeteria

Facilities management wants to free up tables on the first floor of the Harmonie cafeteria during lunch break, so people can actually eat there. Extra rounds by employees and making announcements over the intercom should do the trick.
3 December om 13:30 uur.
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December 3 at 13:30 PM.
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Laatst gewijzigd op 12 December 2019
om 12:04 uur.
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December 3 at 13:30 PM.
Last modified on December 12, 2019
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The new rules are also displayed on the signs that were installed in the cafeteria last year. They say that the cafeteria is not meant as a study location during lunch.

‘Between twelve and two is time for lunch, not time to study’, says facilities manager Robert Rossingh. Nevertheless, the signs are often ignored and both individuals and groups of students sit at the tables with their laptops open.

Enforce

To enforce the laptop ban, the university has been making announcements in both Dutch and English since last week. Staff at the C-bar, the coffee bar on the first floor, are responsible for sounding the announcement. They press a button at noon at twelve thirty, playing the following recording:

‘Dear cafeteria guests, between twelve and two o’clock, the first floor of this cafeteria is available for lunch only. The room behind the coffee bar is for employees only. Students who would like to study are welcome to go to the study rooms.’

Plenty of space

The approach appears to be working. Just before noon, the cafeteria is filled with studying students. When the announcement is played, a few people pack their stuff and leave the cafeteria. Other people aren’t as punctual but end up leaving after fifteen minutes anyway.

When the repeat announcement is played, there is plenty of space for people to have lunch. The tables near the electrical outlets still have a few students at them, though. The announcement isn’t played on Thursdays, but there is plenty of space on that day, anyway.

Staff

The announcement and extra rounds serve to remind students that the room behind the coffee bar is employees only. This room was made exclusive after a small cafeteria battle that raged last year. ‘From a health and safety point of view, we have to make sure staff members have their own lunch location’, says Rossingh.

The extra rounds help remind students of this. ‘We talk to students and tell them to go study somewhere else.’

Which soup is the uni serving? WhatsSoup tells you

Which soup is the uni serving? WhatsSoup tells you

Soup is hot. A hot issue, that is. People’s passion for it became apparent back in January, when almost a thousand people demanded university catering company Beijk bring back the ‘thick’ soup for a euro. Now, there’s WhatsSoep: a website that tracks which soups are served at the RUG every day.
By Joas de Jong / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen
10 October om 10:23 uur.
October 10 at 10:23 AM.

The website was set up by information science student Hilde Jongeling (21). She is a true soup fan. She goes to the Harmonie building’s cafeteria several days a week to get her soup fix. The soups change every day; the cooks in the cafeteria don’t plan a menu, but just use whatever’s in the fridge. Hilde is pretty disappointed whenever her favourite soup is missing.  

Her absolute favourite is the corn chowder, which only makes a rare appearance. Tomato soup shows up more often, sometimes as the ‘basic’ soup option for 1.10 euros, and sometimes as the richer soup option for 1.65. She hates being disappointed with the soup station, so she often texts her friends at the university asking them to reports back on the soup of the day for her. But sometimes none of her friends are on site. 

What’s a girl to do? Invent a solution to her problem: WhatsSoep. 

‘I figured I’d just set up a website. That way other people could benefit from it as well.’ The site invites students to report via a form which soups Beijk is serving that day, how expensive they are, and what extras they come with – because sometimes, people want bacon bits but only spring onions are available. And sometimes – horror – the croutons are missing. 

The soup that binds

People have jumped on the soup reporting train with gusto. Information science students started reporting first, but other students quickly joined in. History student Bart Zegeling (24)  says he is Hilde’s biggest ‘soup fan’.

‘Thanks to WhatsSoep I can look forward to the soups on offer every day’, says Bart. His favourite? Mustard soup. His friends are all tracking the website. ‘The Harmonie soup is what binds us together’, says Bart.

Hilde hopes that WhatsSoep expands to report on soups at other faculties as well. She recently got her first report on the soup situation at the Kapteynborg, but it was a one-off. In other words, she could use a few more soup watchers.

Do you want to contribute to the soup reporting? Check WhatsSoep