Hey hey, my name is Pia Neža, I am a student at the RUG University (Groningen, Netherlands). This blog will talk about my study abroad experience. I am a second-year student however, I can not really say much since this COVID-19 situation changed my plans drastically. Somehow my abroad uni life became online studies. Yet, luckily I have so many precious memories from my first year. Without a doubt, I can say going abroad was the best decision I have ever made, and those 5 months gave me much more than I could have ever imagined.
So to all of you, who are not sure to take the risk, do it! You will meet so many new people, learn so much about yourself, explore new places…
Where do I begin? I still remember my last year of high school; I was determined that I am going to leave Slovenia and try something new. I started searching for a psychology programme that I would like. I spend so many nights googling universities, calculating costs… Since Berlin is my favourite European city, its university was on top of my list, the only problem I had was that I do not speak German. I ended up applying to Groningen, just because it was the closest Dutch university to Berlin. Looking back now, I could not be happier that this turnout of events happened. Due to my lack of German skills, I ended up in the most stunning university city, full of young faces, parties, opportunities.
No one tells you how much work it is with the whole application process. I remember how many times I wanted to quit everything. I am so glad I did not. Finally, in September 2019 I took the train and went to welcome my new life. After a 16 hours long ride and an awkward night stop at the Hamburg train station, I have arrived. So tired, yet so excited.
I took the taxi to my university, where I applied for my introduction camp. I remember not finding the door and how a group of girls asked me to join them so I wouldn’t be alone. Little did I know they were going to be my future classmates and that we would stay in touch. They were so nice and chatty.
Coming from a place, where people are rather judgmental or a bit more reverse, I was pleasantly surprised. And just like these girls, all (or let’s say most) people I have met during my studies are amazing, all so kind and positive. Maybe it is because everyone comes alone, and everyone you know is many km away, that you have to really get along with the people around. People that just a few months ago were complete strangers. I made many new friendships but most importantly I got a new family.
The first year I lived in student housing; having my own room and sharing the kitchen with 5 others. The girl living across the hall became one of the most important people in my life. For my time there, she was my family; she was the person I would go to when I had a bad day, the person I would go to when I was bored, a person that knew everything that was going on with me. We had dinners together, drinking nights, we made jack-o’lanterns, played tennis… No less comfortable I felt with the people I met during studies. we would study together, help each other with school assignments…
All in all, I would say, the best about studying abroad are people. You do not just get close friends, but some of them really do become family. Besides the close relationship I made, there have also been so many great moments I will cherish for life. I remember that one time that we danced until 6 am, the time that we made a weekend trip to Paris, a Christmas dinner with our association, visiting a friend in Denmark…
In sum, my first 6 months of studying abroad have been a blessing and I simply can not wait for the COVID-19 chaos to stop so I can go back and dance the nights off, see all my friends and enjoy the uni life we all deserve. And for all of you who are still not sure if you should try and take a chance with a semester abroad, just do it, it will be amazing!
Author: Pia Neža Šorli
Bachelor’s in Psychology at University of Groningen