In your third Bachelor year, the American Studies department provides you the opportunity to study abroad for a semester. During this semester, you will attend classes at one of the Department’s partner universities and experience the eccentric and eclectic United States first-hand. This part of the website is dedicated not only to the experiences of students who went abroad, but also to the process of actually going to the United States.
Every year, a selection of students from the American Studies department get the opportunity to go visit one of the partner universities in the United States. Their experiences are filled with red cup parties, beer pong, interesting courses, and memories and friends for a lifetime. We have gathered some of those experiences, which can be found here.
However, besides the partying and enjoying the culture and landscapes of the US, you also have to study. The “Studying Abroad” program is equal to 30 ECTS, which you have to fill with faculty approved courses. If you wish to stay in the Netherlands, you will also have to fill those 30 ECTS. In that case, you are to choose courses offered by the University of Groningen, both within the Faculty of Arts and other faculties. The 30 ECTS together make up the “designated minor,” which can be a standard 30 credit program, or a random collection of courses totaling 30 credits of your choosing. Approval from the examination board is always required!
The Application Process
First of all, you will have to choose the university you would like to go to. A list of possible partner universities can be found here. In the application process, it is important to rationalize why you have chosen that particular university, and what courses they offer to enrich your academic and personal development. The applications will open around December of your second year, and will stay open for about two months; even though that seems like enough time, we encourage you to start the application process as soon as possible.
The application will consist of a motivational letter, a grade list and your CV.
Transition second year to third year
In order to go abroad in your third year, completion of the transitional courses that allow you to participate in the second semester of the third year is mandatory. These courses can vary per year, and therefore we advise you to examine the OER (Onderwijs- en Examenregeling; or Teaching and Examination Regulations) that apply to your year. The OER applicable to your situation will be from the year that you started the American Studies program at the RUG, so not from the year that you will be going abroad! In this document, you will have to find the section about transition from second to third year. The courses that have to completed before you start any courses in the second semester are the ones that are also required for going on exchange. Since, again, these rules and regulations vary per year, we urge you to do your research and make sure you’ve passed all of them.
Money, Housing and any other business
When you study abroad for a semester at a university outside of Europe, you are eligible for the Marco Polo fund. This fund will be determined based on where you are going and for what time period you will be abroad. The Department will provide you with additional information once you are selected to go abroad. The Marco Polo fund will be given in two sections, 70% before departure, and the remaining 30% after you returned home and all the paperwork is done. The Marco Polo fund is a part of the University, so prepare for a very bureaucratic process with deadlines you must keep! If you don’t, you might have to repay the whole fund.
Furthermore, if you receive study financing from DUO you will continue to receive the “uitwonend” financing (which applies when you don’t live with your parents, as opposed to study financing you get while living at your parents’ place, which is significantly less) during your time abroad. Make sure to let DUO know that you are going abroad, in order not to miss out on any additional funds!
Housing will be organized with the help of the partner university. Once you are accepted you will receive additional information on living on campus.
As said before, the courses you are planning to take at the partner university, must be approved by the Department. For this process you can contact the study adviser. Throughout your second year, the Department will provide you with all necessary information on studying abroad and the procedures!
Please note that, even though we are willing to help you with any problems you might have, EPU is not part of the application or selection process, and that we take no part at all in the study abroad procedure!
Make sure to check out what American Studies students thought of their time in the US, because beside all the procedures, it is mostly an amazing experience that will enrich your academic career, but also your personal development. Additionally, check our University Reviews page for a clear overview of the destination universities’ evaluation scores based on input of those that went before you. If you are planning to go, EPU wishes you a wonderful time, and be sure to send us a postcard!