Line Lorentzen, Prosthetics and Orthotics programme, Erasmus+ internship, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Hello! My name is Line and I am studying Prosthetics and Orthotics and the School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University. I am currently on my last (sixth) semester where a classmate and I went abroad to The Netherlands to collect the data for our thesis and write it. I have always loved to travel and experience new cultures which is why my classmate and I first talked about doing the MFS (minor field studies). When we learned that Groningen in The Netherlands was a possibility we quickly made up our minds and applied. Our exchange was the first time The University in Groningen had students from our program which kind of made us guinea pigs for the collaboration between the universities. We had a great supervisor at Jönköping University who helped us get in contact with the supervisors in The Netherlands, arranged a couple of skype meetings with them and assisted in the process of writing a study plan before the exchange. The study plan contained information about the project and what we expected to do so that the supervisors in Groningen could approve that is was possible but still not final – the method of the project was changed a lot during the process but the overall aim was the same during the entire time.
Since this was the first time the University in Groningen had exchange students from our program, they didn’t really knew all the details about our stay. We found out about 3 months before going that we should find accommodation ourselves, which was quite a challenge because of the short notice. We found a place to stay for the first two weeks in the city center and then a small bungalow about 10 km from the city center for the rest of the time. Both accommodations were found on AirBnB which was pretty lucky since the first place we were meant to stay at cancelled the day before going. AirBnB was very helpful and we found a small but very cosy bed and breakfast in the city center to stay at instead for the first two weeks. The city was absolutely amazing! The atmosphere and the old part of the town were priceless! We both brought our bikes because we had heard that the city has more bikes than people and we are pretty sure that is true. Biking is a big part of being in the Netherlands and it is really a special experience to suddenly being a part of it. Besides biking a lot in the town we spend countless hours just walking around. The city is definitely worth a visit and I am definitely going back some day. The prizes for the stay was a bit expensive in the city center but better the further away you go – however remember if you choose to rent a place far out as we did, be prepared to walk 4 km to the nearest bus when the temperature drops to -20°C! The temperature was in general okay but it was pretty windy which gave us some really great workout for our legs when biking the 13 km we had to the University. The prizes for food was cheaper than in Sweden and they have a lot of easy to cook delicious food and a great market place in the city center! (TRY STROOP WAFFLES!!!!)
For the project we worked together with a human movement science student from Groningen University who should gather the data together with us and then write her own thesis based on the same data. We spent a lot of time at Groningen University but also at Beatrixord in Haren (just a couple of kilometers south of the city) where we did the programming of the machines and the data collection. We followed a course consisting of 4 classes that we had to prepare ourselves a little for (only reading). We were told not to hand in the assignments and do the exams as the Dutch student who followed the course because we were there to meet people and network. We had a weekly meeting with the supervisors to ensure that we got the help we needed for the project. And otherwise we worked with the Dutch student and a programmer at Beatrixord. In the last week it was arranged for us to follow how a physiotherapist works with patients on the GRAIL (the machine we used in our project) which was really cool. The exchange was in general really instructive and we got a really big experience but also really great thesis out of it. The only thing I would have changed if I could would be to ask the supervisors in Groningen the very first week about small tips and tricks on what to do and see in the city. We got most of this information during our last week where we were pretty stressed out about the thesis and we wished that we had talked with them about it earlier. Nevertheless, I can definitely recommend writing your thesis there and if you have any questions about our stay of the process there feel free to contact me on my email: Line@5xlorentzen.dk