Internationals are welcome!
Read the testimonials of our International Representatives
International Faction Member
Joining the SOG has truly been an invaluable experience! Not only did I get to look into the policy making structure of the University, but also had the chance to bring in new ideas and represent students on an University level! I can truly recommend this experience to any student that wants to make their ideas heard and gain various new skills in different fields!
Takudzwa Mutezo (2014)
My role as a student representative, in the highest policy making body at the University of Groningen is ultimately to ensure that all students, particularly internationals are considered when making decisions and new policies. [...] Read Takus full testimonial here.My role as a student representative, in the highest policy making body at the University of Groningen is ultimately to ensure that all students, particularly internationals are considered when making decisions and new policies. Currently, I stand as the only International Student Representative in the University Council. The inclusion of internationals through my involvement, is paramount at this stage where the University aims, to increase the number of international students currently studying at the RUG as well as to receive more accreditation for their stance on Internationalization. My aim is to ensure that the issues brought forth by the international student barometer which highlighted the areas of disappointment of international students, can be addressed and possible solutions and alternatives brought forth. Presently, my experience is very positive. I have the privilege of working together with an organized, driven, and enthusiastic faction at SOG; that is willing to take any challenges head on. In the council, there is a lot of effort being made by my fellow members to participate in English and create a more functional and practical environment for all participants. Although language is sometimes an area of disappointment, it is refreshing to know that everyone is aware of this issue and willing to consider the suggestions that SOG has been bringing forth. Joining different committees and projects, as well as making good contacts with representatives from different organizations, is part of the experience that I have had thus far. Personally I find being a member of SOG and the University Council exciting and fufilling, and although it can be demanding and a lot of work, ultimately trying to make the University better place for all students is worth the occasional long hours and back to back meetings. I am grateful for the hard work that my predecessors managed to put forth, particularly Ritwik Swain and Alexandra Crisan who stand as the former international representatives in the University Council. They managed to ensure that internationals were represented according in the Council, and my aim is to continue their good work and take it as an inspiration through my term as the third International Student representative in the University Council from SOG.
Alexandra Crisan (2013)
I had a great experience, the year in the Council taught me to connect and network better with people, to acquire public speaking skills and thinking politically about the matters discussed during the meetings and nevertheless to present myself as the one guarding and fighting for the students’ interests. [...] Read Alexandras full testimonial here.I am a 3rd year International and European Law student from Romania. I have been the representative of the international students in the University Council in the academic year 2013-2014. I had a great experience, the year in the Council taught me to connect and network better with people, to acquire public speaking skills and thinking politically about the matters discussed during the meetings and nevertheless to present myself as the one guarding and fighting for the students’ interests. My year in the University Council overlapped with one of the most important years of RUG, namely the celebration of 400 years and also a new start of a very internationalized phase of the university. Thanks to these events I had the chance to meet the King Willem Alexander, to deliver a speech on behalf of the students at the Honorary Doctorates Award Ceremony and to work on very interesting projects. I have been involved in the starting off of the new program University College Groningen(UCG) where I have worked closely with the Faculty Board and Students' Panel in promoting the UCG , selecting the best staff, canteen and accommodation matters, shaping the program and giving input for how the campus will look like and it will be used. I have been involved in the project international Classroom where I was a member of the project group 'Language Policy'. I also worked with the project manager in analysing the outcomes of the first IC pilot, namely the one conducted at Natural Science and Medical Faculties. I have been part of the project 'Summer Schools' where I helped the team in promoting the summer schools and providing them with the students’ view on summer schools. I have established the International Students Committee as part of Studenten Organisatie Groningen (SOG), whose aim was to get together students from different faculties and let them know what is being discussed in the University Council, see how they perceive the changes, what changes they want to see and in this way I could represent the students needs and interests better at the highest executive level. I have been a member of the Food Committee and in this manner I helped improving the catering facilities in multiple locations. Together with the president of SOG -Veerle Brink- I wrote a report in the Mastery of English of the staff of the RUG by conducting research at 5 faculties and gathering best practices. The report was a success and was included in the Language Policy of the RUG and very much applauded by the former Rector Franz Swart. I feel contended with my year in the University Council. I have managed to achieve most of my targets and helped RUG getting more internationalized by providing the international students representatives to come with an English translator during the meetings and more and more English documents. Improvements are still needed and I believe that my successors are taking good care of them. My motto was 'Study at RUG, go far!' Alexandra Crisan
Ritwik Swain (2012)
My time with SOG was very special for me as I was the first-ever international student in the University Council of the University of Groningen (2012-13). [...] I am grateful for SOG for this opportunity and I am delighted to see that there have been international council members elected in the two years following. Read Ritwiks full testimonial here.My time with SOG was very special for me as I was the first-ever international student in the University Council of the University of Groningen (2012-13). I felt that it was time that somebody from the international community of the RUG stood up and voiced the community’s opinions, and I am glad that the SOG encouraged and supported me in this to the full extent. We campaigned for a wide variety of topics, but this time unique attention was given to certain areas of interest to the international community, for example better catering services at the university and free Dutch language courses. Since then, the catering services have improved leaps and bounds, with hot meals being served for both lunch and dinner across the RUG at competitive prices. To help continuously develop the catering services, we set up the University Food & Drinks Council. Dutch language courses are offered free of charge to all new students at the RUG! This was not the only way in which SOG promoted integration. We also found it essential to do so at the decision making level. It was unacceptable, in my eyes, that the University Council continued to emphasise the importance of increasing the number of international staff and students, but belligerently kept the council inaccessible to international staff and students. I felt that my election through SOG into the University Council got the ball rolling to start making the University Council more bilingual. Today we see that many documents are written in English by default, free additional Dutch lessons are provided to international council members, and live translation is provided to international council members. This is quite incredible progress in just a couple of years when everything was in Dutch. I am grateful for SOG for this opportunity and I am delighted to see that there have been international council members elected in the two years following, -Alexandra Crisan in 2013-14 and Takudzwa Mutezo in 2014-15. I could not ask for better successors and by the fact that no other party in the Council has international members, I am proud that they continue to make SOG the only genuine party for internationals.