I’ve been busy getting things in order the past couple of weeks, here is what I have gotten done so far:
I finally received my official acceptance letter from the University of Groningen, they gave me my student number and all of the login information I need for their student portal.
I booked my room in the hostel I will be staying in for the first few days that I am in Groningen until I can move into my housing. What an adventure this will be, true Eurpoean travel experience right from the get go!
I’ve joined quite a few facebook groups for the city of Groningen – groups for international students, for the international student house I will be living in, travel groups, etc. – but one in particular I joined is one for people to sell their bicycles. I posted on the page and let people know I am in the market for a bike, how much I can afford, and when I will be able to purchase it. I had quite a few responses but one in particular stuck out because it was right in my budget. So I got to talking with the girl selling it and she said she would be able to sell it to me February 1st, when I asked her if that was the earliest she’d be willing to sell it she apologized and said she needed it for exams until then. However, she said if I was living in international student housing and by coincidence was living in the same building as her that we could share the bike until she was done with her exams. Turns out, we do live in the same building, she’s even on the floor right below me. Talk about kismet! Unfortunately I won’t be moving into the building until February 1st so we won’t be able to share it, but it will be very easy to meet up and do the sale on that day! Also, the building I am in does not have wifi so I need a UTP cable to access internet. I asked her if she didn’t need hers after she left if I could buy it from her and she said I could just have it, and if I needed anything else to let her know. I’m really happy with how great that seems to be working out!
The Erasmus Student Network is Europe’s international student organization, many schools have their own group, and Groningen is a part of it. They plan events and trips for international students and seem to be a great resource for students to get settled in and make the most of their study abroad experience. They also offer a mentor program where they pair you up with a student from Groningen who can help you get settled in. I applied to get a mentor and was paired with her last week. Get this: her name is Hedwig. HEDWIG, like Harry Potter’s owl. Shameless Harry Potter nerd that I am I sure got a kick out of this, for me to get paired with anyone I get paired with Hedwig. Meant to be! We have been talking a bit and are coordinating things so she can meet me at the train station when I get into Groningen. It gives me a lot of peace of mind to know I won’t be completely left to my own devices when I first get there.
I decided that I wanted to load up on most everything I will need while I am gone rather than buying it when I got there. So I went to the store and stocked up on all of my bathroom supplies – face wash, contact solution, make-up, hair products, medicine, etc etc that will hopefully last me five months. I figured doing it this way would save me money in the long run, from what I’ve read most everything is cheaper here in the US. I even went ahead and bought my bedding here as well, I got the least expensive bedding I could find and plan on using my space bags to flatten it out when I pack.
Tomorrow is my last day at my job, I must admit this is very bittersweet for me. I’ve been at my job for over two years now and really love it, I was blessed with the perfect job to get me through school. This is one of the bigger sacrifices I’ve had to make to pursue studying abroad, giving up my job, but I know just how worth it it is. I will miss my spot as the girl behind the counter, but I’m off to bigger and better things.
I think I have just about everything that I need. There are a couple of minor things I still need to purchase but other than that I just need to pack and get in a lot of quality time with my loved ones. I can’t believe it’s already time to start packing, man this time has flew!
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” -Michael Palin