Expat life in Nijmegen: Emilios, Cyprus

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 Emilios Gregoriou from Cyprus...

"Arriving in Nijmegen was a bit chaotic. It was only a couple of days before the introduction week started and I had just flown over from Cyprus with my mom to move into my new room. I always wanted to try a new environment, a new culture, and a new language for studying. So, when I found Radboud and my course Comparative European History, it was a no-brainer.

The great thing about an introduction week is that everyone is open and friendly because everyone wants to make friends. So, I had an easy time making friends. I also got quite involved with my study association in my first year – and I still am. I was always one of the few international students there, but I never found it to be a problem. And by the third year, I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s quite gezellig, you could say.

The biggest difference between Nijmegen and Cyprus is probably that you guys drive on the right side of the road. In Cyprus, we drive on the left. Of course, the culture is also different. Nijmegen is a university town and for me, it’s just easier to be yourself. If you’re dressed up for a costume party and have to cycle down to the city center – most people don’t even give it a second look. Not that you can’t be yourself in Cyprus, but people are more likely to judge.

What I like most about the Netherlands is the Dutch. Sometimes, Dutch people can get a bad rep for being a bit stingy or cold, but I find people to be quite welcoming. I think if you show that you like being here, that you’re not just speaking English, and that you care about the Netherlands, people will be open to being your friend. I think that’s quite the honor because they don’t have to be open. Most people already have their social circles when they’re from around here.

I’m sure that I changed and matured since moving here. I think I care more about politics than I did before coming here. Radboud is a quite openly left university, and local politics and international politics, let alone identity politics, are more important. You meet people that are different than you when you move abroad – in every regard – and that is really opening. It really influences how I see the world."

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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