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“It can be easy to feel at home in Groningen for me’’

Adrivit Mukherjee, bright and energetic, 29 years old on paper, but 22 inside, comes originally from Calcutta, India, but he has been living in Groningen since August 2020. After a Master’s degree in material sciences and engineering in the north of Germany, he decided to enroll for a PhD in biomedical engineering in Groningen. But why did he decide to move here?

“First of all,” Adrivit says with a big smile, “I wanted to see how life would be as a person with a different sexual orientation in the country where the gay pride started.’’ More particularly, he chose Groningen because here he found a unique collaboration between the University Medical Centre (UMCG) and the Faculty of Science and Engineering. This allows for effective knowledge transfer between disciplines and facilitates translational research, where you work on a concept and you translate it into different disciplines. “We do research to make tangible contribution to society”, Adrivit adds proudly.

But work is not the only reason which made him move here. Adrivit loves peaceful places. “Reitdiephaven is my favourite place, a cosy little harbour with colourful houses which matches perfectly with my colourful personality.” The peaceful atmosphere and the ubiquitous water makes it perfect for him.

“It can be easy to feel at home in Groningen for me’’ Adrivit exclaims with enthusiasm. He likes individualistic societies, and so he appreciates Groningen in particular. On the one hand, you have the freedom to bike all around the city and have the time to think about yourself, but on the other hand you also find people who are very “gezellig” and open here.

Years ago when he moved to Germany from India the circumstances were problematic for him, but step by step he found out how to get in contact with locals with a more conservative outlook on life. Once he landed in the Netherlands, he already had the instruments to blend into the culture and the local scene by showing adaptability. So, during these years in Groningen it was easy to get in contact with locals in his neighborhood or at the university. “But the special thing about Groningen is that here I have the luxury of keeping my own personality and my way of seeing things, while at the same time I have enough space to grow,” he affirms cheerful.

If you say Groningen, Adrivit immediately has to think of eierballen, a typical Gronings snack as well as the greetings that people from Groningen do with their hand followed by a 'moi!', short and sweet. There are also aspects that he finds quite funny such as Tikkie, an app everybody uses to transfer money after a borrel or a dinner together, and the positivity of Dutch people. “When it rains, people are cool, they would just say: it is good for the plants.” Considering his experience in Groningen, Adrivit would like to share a message to students who are here: “Take the first step and then you will be surprised. You need the courage to do so. "But necessity is the mother of inventions", my mom always said. Once you need something, you will find it, but allow yourself to get in contact with the locals.’’

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