Expat life in Nijmegen: Dagmara, Poland

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 Dagmara Kołakowska from Poland...

"The whole idea of studying in Nijmegen was born out of a hitchhiking trip that I took to the Netherlands and then further along in Europe the year before moving here. I visited a friend from Poland who was doing her Erasmus at Radboud. She took me in and gave me a tour and somehow, the university stuck with me. So, when I thought about signing up for an Erasmus semester myself, I immediately thought of Radboud.

I came here initially for one semester but liked it so much that I requested the exchange to be prolonged for another one. During that time, I met my partner, who is German but has done his whole studies here. After the exchange, I went back to Poland to defend my thesis, then came back to Nijmegen and worked in hospitality, and then traveled a bit with my partner.

We eventually decided to move back to Nijmegen, because it’s a nice city and also the place where we met. After living in a village south of Nijmegen for the last three years, we moved back to the city a year ago. Right now, I work as a senior consultant for Deloitte.

What I would recommend to expats moving here is trying to learn Dutch. I know that you can get away with not speaking it for a really long time, but I think learning the language opens up so many more facets of living in the Netherlands. You can listen to the radio or maybe talk with your older neighbor who is not as comfortable with English. I also think that through the way Dutch people use their language and how they play with it, you also start understanding more about Dutch mentality.

Something that I do sometimes miss here is a bit more spontaneity when it comes to scheduling things. I feel like it’s quite Dutch to have your agendas really packed. You need to figure out three days in advance if you’re going for a walk together, for example. Not always, of course, but in the first year when I came here and I started to really mingle with more Dutch people, I realized that this is a thing. On the other hand, one thing that I really appreciate about the Netherlands is its biking culture. Enjoy that while you’re here!"

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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