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‘’I accidentally came to Groningen, but fell in love with the city’’

Tatenda Madondo

Tatenda was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in Ireland. In 2016 she came to Groningen to study International and European Law at the University of Groningen.

Kerk stitswerd "I have a soft spot for small villages and beautiful scenery. And Groningen offers both."

‘’Coming to Groningen was actually an accident.” Tatenda initially wanted to go to another city, but then she randomly heard about the city of Groningen. She decided to read up on this place a little more and decided that it seemed so nice that she wanted to go there. “I didn’t know much about Groningen. The only thing I really knew was how small the city was. That compactness turned out to be really nice, because discovering all the things Groningen has to offer was a lot of fun to do!” Tatenda fell in love with the city. “Even though I didn’t have many expectations about it, I’m so pleasantly surprised with the options of things to do here.” And even after a few years of living here her opinion mainly remained the same: “Groningen is very cute, warm and I love the atmosphere. I always find the coolest things do to.” One thing she might love even more than the city are the villages around it. “I have a soft spot for small villages and beautiful scenery. And Groningen offers both.”

However, not everything went smoothly from the beginning. The search for a room was very difficult as many people only want Dutch or German roommates. “Luckily, I found a room close to the city centre - thank goodness - but it took so long that I really started to panic.”

Making a lot of Dutch friends helped Tatenda with understanding the culture and the language. “Before COVID I was involved in plenty of student organisations and events where I easily met new people. I’m also the type of person to strike conversations on the street with random people. I soon learned that the Dutch find this really weird, but it led to some really nice conversations.”

Eierballen "I also tried the famous eierbal – I will not comment on the flavour."

Food is a major part of Dutch culture. “The first thing I ate when I came here were bitterballen. With a glass of beer of course. I’d encourage every newbie in Groningen to try these little fried treats, as they are pretty much at the centre of Dutch culture.” Recently Tatenda discovered a new Dutch hobby: eating oliebollen. You should try them, they are amazing. “I also tried the famous eierbal – I will not comment on the flavour.” Besides food, something that really struck her about Dutch culture was how fiercely independent the Dutch are. “The individualism took some time to get used to but I have grown to appreciate it.“

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