Religious Platforms for International Students
For international students with different religious backgrounds, Groningen provides different platforms to meet their needs. Whatever belief you hold, you can find a piece of home here.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral offers English mass every Saturday at 5pm. Located between the city centre and the central station, this Roman Catholic Church provides a good place for English-speaking students to pray. The English-speaking community in this cathedral helps people with same belief from all around the world to communicate and share. Thelma, a girl from Nicaragua attends the mass nearly every week. When asked about what she thought about it, she said, “The mass is good; the priest is kind. It doesn’t make you feel out of it. You are still home.”
International Christian Church Groningen(CCG) offers all the English-speaking students a warm community to meet friends and share thoughts. Everyone including non-Christian is welcomed. Every Sunday at 4pm, there will be an English get-together in Johan de Wittstraat 2. Unlike most religious activities, it is more of a happy party during which people share thoughts by sings songs, shouting and dancing with each other. The participants differ in race, gender, and age. There are 60-year-old woman, and also 2-year-old kids. However, everyone gets a high spirit together with the band on the stage and the people around you.
Almost every week there will be a guest in CCG meeting to perform(music most of the time) and deliver a speech about his understanding of the Bible. Even Rogers, a South African musician and songwriter, was invited on 27th November. He performed several songs that he wrote himself. The lyrics are plain but sincere, like “Jesus you are number one” or “We can have fun at church, no dead religion”. “we have passion for god, but we can still have fun”, said Rogers. By effectively leading and influencing, he created an active atmosphere in which people could both have fun and express their passion to God. “The traditional ways are boring and dulling. We can celebrate ourselves.” said Rogers.
For Muslims, the Mosque in Park Selwerd 1 is a place where they can pray every Friday evening. For Fredo, an Indonesian student studying in RUG now, it is a “pretty good place to communicate.” He also recommended the Indonesian Muslim Community which is a flexible organization. “Muslims are the majority of Indonesian population,” he said. There are quite a lot Indonesian students in Groningen. It can be a nice platform for them.
Apart from these, other platforms like HOST-IFES Groningen and The Community Church all dedicate in providing international students a home in a foreign country with a foreign culture.
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