Expat life in Nijmegen: Antonia, Germany

In the series "Expat Life in Nijmegen", expats talk about their lives in the Netherlands' oldest city. How did they end up here? What do they do in daily life here and what do they think of the city and its surroundings? 

Here's the story of Antonia Leise from Germany...

"I had just turned eighteen when I moved to Nijmegen. It was the 27th of August 2016, Barack Obama was still the U.S. President, Elizabeth II the Queen of England – and I had graduated high school in Germany two weeks prior to moving here to start studying at Radboud.

I’m not entirely sure what made me move to Nijmegen back in 2016 – maybe some longing for adventure. I had visited the city only twice before and was equipped with whatever Dutch skills you can expect from using Duolingo for two weeks. It was, by any definition, a bit crazy. And on my second day in the city, I got completely lost.

It probably took me four and a half hours, a nice bus driver, someone at the university library who printed me a map, a classmate I ran into, and a lot of nerve to get back to Vossenveld, where I was living at the time. What I didn’t know back then was that getting lost in Nijmegen is a bit of an initiation ritual for internationals moving to the city.

One international after another that I have known has gotten lost in Nijmegen at one point. For an hour or two, sometimes right at the beginning, sometimes after a few weeks or even months. And, literally or metaphorically, I have ended up in some unexpected places while living here. When I moved, it was for a bachelor’s in psychology. Six years later, I’m about to graduate with a degree in history and work as a journalist.

Nijmegen was unknown territory to me back in 2016 – six years later, it has become my home. With all the beautiful parts of it that I have found along the way. When my partner and I were looking for a coffee to go during our lockdown walks in 2020, we stumbled across the CoffeeLab and it’s still my go-to place for chats over coffee with friends, especially when we all have gotten a bit lost again.

I found the best cake in the city while doing an interview at De Kantine, the best vegan burger in De Blaauwe Hand, and some of my best friends while waiting for the bus or having tea by myself at a café. Nijmegen is such a great place for getting lost because there is always something waiting to be found – and usually right when you least expect it."

Studying & working in Nijmegen

Nijmegen has a lot to offer in terms of studying, working and business. The oldest city in The Netherlands is also one of the largest student cities in the country. The city presents itself as a leading global player in solving social issues and problems. With its significant position in the Health & High Tech sector, Nijmegen belongs to the international top when it comes to improving the quality of life, healthcare and the development of high-quality technology for various social applications.

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