Expat life in Nijmegen: Alex, Romania

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 Alex from Romania...

"I came to Nijmegen in 2019 to study English Literature at Radboud University and graduated in 2022. Since then, I’ve been doing different things – I interned and worked at a literary agency and I am freelancing right now. I’m also involved with Raffia magazine and a queer NGO in Nijmegen.

Being a student is very different from working in a city. As a student, it’s much easier to make connections – you’re always surrounded by people, you have classes, and, to some degree, support from the university. When you’re working, there are a lot of things you have to figure out – how taxes work, for example. I feel like I only got to experience both sides of living in Nijmegen when I stayed after my graduation.

My initial reason for staying was that I got an offer for an internship at a literary agency. I didn’t intend to stay, initially, but this was a great opportunity for me to gain work experience, and I worked freelance for them afterwards, so it worked out well.

Before coming to Nijmegen, I didn’t know much about the city – and I was very positively surprised. I learned that Nijmegen is not only the oldest city in the Netherlands, but also the oldest queer city in the Netherlands. I didn’t know that it was very queer-friendly and left-oriented before I moved – but that ended up being a perfect match. So, my experience has been really good so far.

It's quite cliché, but the first thing that really surprised me was how good the bike infrastructure was. Especially in Eastern Europe, there is still a lot of work to be done in that regard. Here, it was really interesting to see how many people cycle. I saw people cycle in suits or in dresses – this was really surreal to see, someone so well dressed, but then on a bike. That really left an impression on me.

One of the things that I found a bit more disappointing, however, was the Dutch food culture. In Romania, for example, you have a big break for lunch, so you can have a full meal. Here, people were just having a plain sandwich. That was a bit of a disappointment for me. But by now, I also tend to just grab a sandwich, especially if I have meetings to go to."

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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