Groningen among best cities in Europe to live and study
Written on Saturday, 22 March 2014 03:21

Groningen has scored the highest in Europe for educational facilities, health care services and public spaces, according to the results of a survey released by the European Commission in October.

Citizens of Groningen are so satisfied with their city that this northern student city ranks third in Europe for quality of life, just behind Aalborg and Hamburg. Furthermore, it received the highest satisfaction score regarding cleanliness, public spaces and the feeling of safety, leaving other popular Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam behind.


The vast majority of Groningen citizens surveyed agreed that the presence of foreigners is good for the city. Groningen also scored among the highest in Europe for green spaces, air quality and trust in fellow citizens.

British students and lecturers studying and working in Groningen share their thoughts on the results. Jonathan Hurry, Fine Arts student at Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen (Hanze UAS), remarks, “it’s a good city, a student city, there are lots of interesting things going on”.

“In the summer months, I will often go to the park, with my dog, and paint from nature”, says Gemma Nijdam (British), Honours College Coordinator and Lecturer at the International Business School of Hanze UAS. Referring to one of two parks the city has to offer.

The first impression that Hanze UAS student (International Communication) Jack Gowans, from Newcastle, had was that “the city looks beautiful”, and he mentioned, “it reminded me a lot of older parts of towns I’d visited in England, like York”.

Besides enjoying the classic atmosphere, Jack is very positive about the city’s educational facilities. “One of my favourites is the library where you can rent your books online and collect them from the front desk, and access standard and high-performance computers for media work”.

According to Hanze UAS student (International Business and Management Studies) Jack Lancaster, from Sheffield, not only the city’s atmosphere and education  facilities are good. “The (university) sports facilities are perfect for students and extremely cheap” he says. With unlimited access to the student sports centre – including a fitness club and pool – for less than €150 per year, it is definitely affordable to say the least.


 
University of Groningen Announces Details of New Liberal Arts & Sciences Degree
Written on Monday, 23 December 2013 19:07

The University of Groningen has now announced details of its much anticipated Liberal Arts & Sciences [LAS] degree, taught through English.  Details here. The university is one of several Dutch universities, ranked in the world's top 100 universities, to offer this degree option. The LAS programmes are proving very popular with UK and Irish students, who are applying to join them in increasing numbers, drawn by the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects in the first year before taking a major [specialising] in one subject, from the second year onwards.

In the Groningen LAS programme [run at University College Groningen], students will be able to specialise in one of the following areas:

Health and Life Sciences, which provides a comprehensive understanding of mechanisms underlying the normal development and function of humans, and of mechanisms causing disease.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics: modules include History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Logic, Political Science, International Relations, Microeconomics, Markets & Regulation and International Macroeconomic Theory & Policy.

Cognition and Behaviour: modules include Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience, Social Environment & Behaviour, History and Philosophy of the Mind and Society,, Social Cognition, Neuropsychology, Cognition and Attention, Gerontology and Perception. The topics can be explored further in relation to the three research themes.

Reflecting on Culture: modules include Cultural History, Cultural Analysis, a chosen art medium (film, television, literature, theatre and music), a chosen historical period, the methods and methodology of the Humanities.

Physics and Energy: this major includes a broad spectrum of physics modules in topical fields, including magnetism, electricity, mechanics and relativity, thermodynamics and the structure of matter. Electives are offered in the fields of energy and sustainability.

As in all of the Liberal Arts & Sciences programmes, at Groningen there is a competitive selection procedure. After checking that your High School Diploma grades [A-Level/Leaving Cert/IB etc] meet their requirements, the university will require students to complete four tasks: an interpretative essay; analytical and logical reasoning tests; group dynamics reflection task; video letter. Students who score well in these tasks will be invited to an interview.

Applications open on 6th January and close on 1st June 2014


 
Irish University Fees To Return, Warns UCD President
Written on Friday, 20 December 2013 23:18

extract from Article in Irish Independent 18.12.13

The president of University College Dublin (UCD) has warned that the return of higher fees for third-level students cannot be put off any longer. Dr Hugh Brady said the ongoing reduction in state funding to higher education was in danger of putting quality at risk and would see Ireland losing its best students, as well as its international reputation.

Brady made his comments in an exclusive interview to the Irish Independent ahead of his retirement from the helm at UCD, Ireland's biggest university after a 10-year period. This year, college students are paying a contribution of €2,500, which is set to rise to €3,000 in 2015, but it does not compensate for ongoing cuts in state funding to third-level.

Currently, there are no plans to increase the student contribution beyond €3,000, but the issue will come centre-stage again in the new year with a discussion paper on third-level funding.Third-level colleges are facing the double challenge of increasing student numbers, while at the same time being given reduced State financial support. There is broad agreement that more funding is required, but the question is who pays.

Above: University College Dublin [UCD]


Dr Brady said the decision on funding third-level "has been put off for almost a decade and you have to look what logically happens if you continue to shrink the state investment". He added: "Quality suffers and if quality suffers you lose Irish students but also your reputation, and Ireland cannot not afford for its global reputation to take a knock." In the past five years, state funding per student has dropped by about 30pc and Dr Brady said it was hard to see a reversal of those cuts. He said the time had now come for a higher contribution by students.


 
No more Tuition Fees in Germany as Lower Saxony Aligns With Other States
Written on Friday, 20 December 2013 16:24

From 2014, Lower Saxony will be the last of Germany’s 16 states to abolish tuition fees for undergraduate students at public universities. Both national and international undergraduate students at public universities in Germany will get free tuition from next year, and will only need to pay a small “semester fee” towards administration [approx. Eur 100-150] plus a further sum of about Eur100 for a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport

These low charges certainly help to make Germany attractive as a study destination, with recent figures showing it to be the fourth most popular country for international students (after the US, UK and Australia). And a recent HSBC report puts Germany at the bottom of a table of 13 countries in terms of the cost of studying abroad, with an average cost of just  €4,564) per year, breaking down €461 for fees and €4,103 for living costs. Note thay these are just averages – the cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others.

There is a Federal Student Financial Aid Programme (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) and an Education Loan system [Bildungskredit] in Germany but entitlement to these supports, for UK and Irish students is limited.

Above: University of Leipzig

 
Dutch Government Puts Hold on Student Grant Reform
Written on Friday, 13 December 2013 17:58

Dutch Education minister Jet Bussemaker confirmed yesterday that she will revise her plans to replace student grants with loans and has confirmed the new system will not come into effect in 2014 [as she had hoped] but in 2015.The cabinet does not have majority support for the plans in the upper house of parliament and the minister has agreed to rethink her proposals. Free public transport for students will also now continue until 2017, the minister said.

EUNiCAS has been advised that if you start university under the current finance arrangements you can continue under these arrangements until you graduate, in the event of the reformed arrangements being introduced during your programme.

Under current rules, Full-time students, if they are EU citizens, are entitled to the following financial support in the Netherlands: 1. a Tuition Fee Loan 2.a Basic Grant 3. a Supplementary Grant and 4. a Top Up Loan. Your entitlement to items 2-4 [but not your entitlement to a Tuition Fee Loan] are dependent upon you working 56 hours a month [this is the equivalent to two or three evening shifts, a week, working in a restaurant]. Entitlement to the Supplementary Grant is calculated with reference to family income.

Please contact EUNiCAS at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like our Information Sheet containing our Guidelines to Student Finance in the Netherlands.


University of Groningen, one of seven Dutch Universities in the World's Top 100 Universities

 
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