Students should be warned that this program may not be for them if they are not comfortable on a bicycle. Hanze provides students with a bike as part of the program fee and besides using the bike to get to campus from their apartments, they are also used for several of the social/cultural activities. Cycling is the mode of transportation in Groningen, for students, professors, businesspeople, parents taking their children to school or going shopping - everyone rides a bike. (Perhaps this is why all the locals look so slim and fit.) There are buses, but to truly feel part of the culture one needs to ride a bike. Cars are quite careful of bicycles, but one does need to watch out for buses (and motorbikes, which use the bike lanes, not the roads).
Did I mention that we bike come rain or shine? The buses are so crowded and backed up on rainy days that you would end up waiting in the rain longer than it takes to just go ahead and use your bike. Coming back from class today it was pouring rain, so - despite a raincoat with a hood - I was soaked through after my 20-minute ride back the the city center, but I didn't melt. Students' apartments are closer to campus, so they could walk if they wanted to but it's much more fun to use the bikes. Note to future students: Bring a raincoat with a hood, preferable a light one you can roll up into your backpack since it's best to always have it on hand - you never know when you'll run into a shower.
Speaking of the student apartments: they each have a private room with shared kitchen and shower facilities. Bedding and kitchen utensils, pots & pans are provided. However, students should remember to pack a towel(s) and washcloth as these are not provided.