Two brand new blog posts about City Central's programmes - My Local Friend and FietsFriend - are up over at Groningen.nl!
We've got sneak peek at the posts, but be sure to visit Groningen.nl to read them in their entirety:
My Local Friend
Practicing your newfound Dutch skills can be tough in the Netherlands: everyone just starts talking to you in English. City Central’s My Local Friend programme was dreamt up in 2017, and has matched hundreds of native Dutch speakers with foreign residents who want to improve their Dutch skills.
My Local Friend began to solve this common problem that so many internationals face: an opportunity to practice their Dutch with a partner who was tasked with only speaking to them in Dutch. “it’s kind of what makes My Local Friend very necessary”, says Deborah Bremmer, a member of the My Local Friend team. “It’s so nice to have a person that will not switch to English, and it’s often the only person they will have contact with who speaks Dutch to them.”
It’s a fact recognized world-wide that Groningen is made for bikes, but figuring out Dutch traffic rules is an intimidating task for the thousands of new international residents who move to the city annually. While nearly every native Dutch citizen grows up learning to cycle, that is less of a given in the rest of the world: only about 50 percent of households worldwide own a bicycle.
Approximately 4,000 new international students enrol at the RUG and Hanze each academic year, and photos of students who have accidently ended up on the city’s ring road are unfortunately a regular occurrence, as are harrowing anecdotes of internationals of near misses or (minor) collisions.
This lack of understanding of national (and local) traffic rules put all road users at risk, which is why City Central Groningen launched FietsFriend in 2019: to help internationals cycle safely and fully enjoy the biking lifestyle in Groningen.