Expat life in Nijmegen: Andra, 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 Andra van der Burg from Romania...

"I was 19 when I moved here from Romania. That was in 2016. Since then, I have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in work and organizational psychology – both from Radboud University.

Currently, I work at the Lifeport Welcome Center, which is trying to make the start of living in the Netherlands easier for international knowledge workers in the region. People have a lot of different backgrounds, and, as I know from experience, it can be challenging to get used to everything. For example, I found out that I didn’t register for something in time after moving – and got a fine.

I was in a bit of a haze when I came here for the first time. When you arrive in a new country, everything looks pretty, and everything is new. It almost felt like I was going on vacation. The streets and buildings looked different; the weather was different. If you really think about it, it’s crazy that I moved to the Netherlands without visiting the country before.

My German was quite good when I moved, but learning Dutch was still a challenge. I have taken a few Dutch courses with Radboud In’to Languages, which were quite good. And it did help that I could only speak Dutch with my husband’s family. Right now, I try not to focus on saying everything textbook-level correctly and more on keeping a conversation going and trying to say what I want to say.

One thing I have grown really fond of since moving here is carnaval. In Romania, you don’t really have an occasion where you can dress up in costume, but I love dressing up. Here, everyone does it, even adults. It’s not something that anyone considers weird. Everyone is so chill about it; I love that.

If I could give one piece of advice to internationals moving to the Netherlands, it is to be open about what you’re going through. When you miss something from your home country – because it’s normal to miss things – be open about that. It might be something that helps you connect with other people. You might want to figure out everything yourself, but it doesn’t have to be like that. There are many resources if you ask for them."

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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