For many students, to study at a different university for a semester or an even longer period of time is a memorable and educational experience. The majority of students packing their suitcases are in the third year of their Bachelor program, but there are plenty of possibilities to travel to faraway places and eminent universities during the fourth year or during the Master. The goals to study abroad can vary: some do it as a minor program, others for their Bachelor thesis, or to do an internship at Bachelor or Master level. There are more than enough choices, so research thoroughly. If you want to go abroad, it’s very important that you start your orientation early. Luckily the student advisors are very helpful and they can help you brainstorm and search. When you have made your decision, the selection procedure starts. The selection procedure varies for each program and depends on what you want to do abroad. The selection procedure for universities outside Europe are more extensive than for those in Europe. Start as quickly as possible with arranging everything, for example getting letters of recommendation. After signing up you have to wait for the green light. Are you allowed to study at the university of your first choice?
For more information about studying abroad or internships, click here
The Minor Abroad offers you the unique opportunity to study in a foreign country for half a year. The Faculty of Arts has over 200 partner universities within and outside of Europe, where can you follow a part of your bachelor. This will not only improve your knowledge of your field, but you will also learn more about other cultures and about yourself. You will also expand your perspectives on the (international) job market after your exchange.
Sign up procedure
The Abroad Minor takes place in the first semester of the third year. Sign up for studying outside of European Union closes in the beginning of December. For universities inside the European Union the deadline is in the beginning of February.
Went to: Norway
Study year: 2018-2019
I always wanted to go to Norway for nature and culture. When the minor system changed at the study History, I was looking for a way to complete my minor in a different way. The Study advisor Hidde suggested just doing the minor abroad, and I thought "why not!". I always wanted to improve my English, living abroad for a longer period of time to get to know the culture and certainly, after taking a board twice in Groningen, I wanted to get away from Groningen. Doing something completely different.
Really soon I thought about to go to University of Bergen in Norway. English in Norway is at a good level so that I could improve my English, but there were also special courses to learn Norwegian especially for students who have only one semester. I also found courses that seemed interesting to me, including one that I could take instead taking the last course of my minor. My minor, Central- and Eastern European studies, was much about the flaws, corruption and war in the countries. I wanted to combine this with a country where it is known as a country where it is doing well with the rule of law and I could compare this nicely. As a result, I also did a course in Scandinavian Politics and Government, with which I could again compare Norway nicely with how things are going in the Netherlands due to my board year experience. I also did my substitute minor course in Religion and the City and Introduction in Norwegian Language. So, a total of 37.5 points.
Finally, I gained 30 points and at the end I dropped the Introduction in Norwegian Language course. Still I do recommend that you try to learn the language of the country you are in, that opens doors for yourself but you also get a lot of positive response in return and you really get to know the "locals" better. But I also went to Norway to enjoy: I was a member of a sailing club whereby I sailed through the fjords, climbed many mountains around Bergen and played in a university orchestra. With this I also made Norwegian friends because you will soon be in an international bubble. Yet I also made international friends because the campus where I slept housed many internationals.
It was a hassle to arrange everything, but it was well worth it. Fortunately, the university in Bergen offered a "housing guarantee" (the RuG should do that too) and I did not have to stress about that, but usually this is not the case. But this will always be alright in the end. Even if you go to the Mobility Office, just be prepared what you are going to ask based on the steps on the RuG site. Or else ask students who have been to Erasmus before, it is not difficult in the end, but you often just have to know how to get through that bureaucracy.
I recommend everyone to go to Erasmus. Because you are alone for a while, you really learn a kind of mindset in which you stand on two legs more independently. In addition, because I had so much contact and constantly spoke English (or sometimes Norwegian), my English improved enormously in fluency, but also thanks to essays, in writing. Even more I recommend you Bergen: you have a lot of contact with teachers, in Bergen you can climb a mountain after a lecture if you want with a gigantic beautiful view and the associations are very nice and inviting. However, the beer is pricey, and the Norwegians are proud of their (local) language. But I don't recommend climbing a mountain with a hangover and drinking some less beer is quite nice. And the Norwegians really like it if you try to learn their language. And once you have Norwegian friends, you can always visit them in Norway.
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Went to: South Africa
Study Year: 2022-2023
Summer 2022 I left for my minor abroad to South Africa. When I started studying I already knew I wanted to go abroad for a semester, so I was really happy to see it was possible within BA History. At the start of my second year it was already time to decide where I wanted to go, because the application deadline for universities outside the EU was at the end of November. I wanted to go somewhere completely different from The Netherlands, so soon I decided that I had to go outside of Europe. The Arts Faculty of the RUG has a lot of partner universities for you to choose from, so opportunities are endless. The university has an entire database for you to find study experiences from the students who went before you, this really helps with making your decision on where to go and to learn from their experiences. Eventually, I chose for the University of Pretoria because English is the main language at South African universities and South Africa’s culture and history really interested me.
Going on a minor abroad takes a lot of preparation, but I would say it is all totally worth it. Not only does it improve your language skills, it has a large contribution to your academic growth. Studying at another university, especially outside of the EU, impacts your perspective on history. Especially studying at a non-European university really teaches you to not only see history from a Eurocentric perspective, which for me was very eye-opening. Moreover, it does not only contribute to your academic skills, it also contributes to personal growth. Going on an exchange means getting pulled out of your comfort zone and there is a lot to learn about yourself when you take that step. For me, my personal growth has been the most important lesson I take from this adventure.