“I literally cried of happiness when I stepped out of the car in Groningen for the first time, it is so beautiful!”
Alexandra Georgieva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She moved to Groningen in august 2020 to study Design at the Academy Minerva.
“I did not specifically choose Groningen.” Alexandra didn’t want to choose a city just because of the location, but also base the decision on the university and its program. She did not know much about Groningen, except that it was a student city in the north of the Netherlands. Her uncles, who live in Amsterdam, told her a lot of positive things about Groningen. However, she did not have many expectations before coming here. “I came here to learn and explore. Probably the only thing that I feared was the weather. That it would rain all the time. But honestly, that's not true. I am from Sofia, Bulgaria, and I can easily say that the weather there is pretty much the same.”
Coming to Groningen did cause some stress for Alexandra and her family. “The housing search was a nightmare. I paid a lot of money for different sites and I found a lot of fake offers. In the end I spend around six months searching.” Because of the pandemic, moving to another country was a challenge. Therefore, Alexandra did as much as possible at home. “I bought everything that I needed for my new place, made a financial plan, read about the Netherlands and Groningen, started learning Dutch and spoke a lot with my uncles.” Besides that, Alexandra played the Virtual Groninger Game. “The game helped me to get used to the feeling and atmosphere of Groningen.”
“In Bulgaria, I think people are not used to say hello to a stranger or smile to them. Here everyone is doing it!”
According to Alexandra, the thing that stands out about Dutch culture is that it is influenced by countries from all over the world. Another typical Dutch thing Alexandra did not know before she came to Groningen is that in the Netherlands it is normal to eat dinner around 5-6 pm. “That is pretty early!” What Alexandra really likes is the friendliness of the Dutch. Alexandra embraced Dutch food and made room for it in her own little traditions. When she goes to the market she buys a stroopwafel and enjoys it in the park or by the canal. And after every exam Alexandra and her friend eat a famous Groninger eierbal.
When Alexandra first came to Groningen, she felt like she was in the right place in the right city. That is why it was not very hard for her to integrate in Groningen. “I don’t say this about a lot of cities, but Groningen is very beautiful. It is a really unique place where nature and the city come together. It is also a very alive place with all the students.” What Alexandra adores about Groningen are the small streets, the canals and the nature in the city. “I love the small secret gardens all around town. It is like they are straight out of a fairy tale.”