Expat life in Nijmegen: Holly, United Kingdom

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 Holly Hartley from The United Kingdom...

"I'm originally from the UK and moved to Nijmegen on the 21st of August 2022 for a year-long exchange program. The week I arrived was one of the really hot weeks that summer, so I woke up to a lot of sun every day and thought: ‘This is paradise.’ Since then, the weather has been interesting. I woke up one morning to a phone alert saying: ‘Remember, there is ice fog today.’ That wasn’t a term I had encountered before.

I think you have only fully integrated once you’ve encountered extreme weather conditions on a bike. I always thought cycling with an umbrella was a ridiculous idea, but I’ve seen people do it here, and now I do it myself. I’ve also seen people cycle with an armchair or a dog on their shoulders, and once, I’ve seen someone carrying another bike while cycling. I don’t think I could ever do that, but I think it’s very cool.

My favorite place in the city is definitely the cat café. I like to study there too. During the week, it’s usually less busy, and it’s quiet because everyone is respectful of the cats’ space. And even when you’re very stressed, it’s fine because five cats are trying to be your friends. In the UK, I do a joined honors degree in English Literature and Drama. At Radboud, I’m mostly taking Arts and Culture Studies courses.

Switching to a new education system in the Netherlands has and hasn’t been easy. Wrapping my head around the Dutch grading system was a bit hard. But I also think that the system in the Netherlands is more supportive of students’ mental health and personal circumstances. Re-sits are, for example, already incorporated in the system, whereas you have to fight tooth and nail in the UK to be able to take one.

The city feels full of endless possibilities. I can go to the market on Saturday and talk to people from all over the Netherlands selling their produce. Or I can get on a train to a city I’ve never been to before because the public transport here is really good. I will miss this a lot when returning to the UK. I’m already thinking about coming back to Nijmegen for my master’s. The city reminds me of home – but not in a limiting way."

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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