Expat life in Nijmegen: James, England

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 James Eccles from England...

"I came to Nijmegen in the spring of 2022 for the first time. That was a few months before I moved to the city for a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Society at Radboud University. So, I’ve been properly living in Nijmegen since last August.

When looking for a degree, I wanted to combine philosophy and politics. However, most programs that offer that also focus on economy, which I didn’t like. In that sense, the study at Radboud was unique in the Netherlands.

My brother studied in Maastricht, so I knew Maastricht before moving here. But I had never heard of Nijmegen before I found the university. I did have a good first impression of the city though. Nijmegen is a very open city with many green spaces, which I like. It’s definitely different from Sheffield in England, where I grew up.

Sheffield is a large city in comparison, more than three times the size of Nijmegen, and it’s one of the hilliest cities in England. Because of that, the first big difference I noticed when coming here was how flat Nijmegen was. A flat city is, of course, great if you want to bike – and I absolutely love biking here.

There is a certain freedom that comes with being able to travel everywhere you want by bike and not being dependent on public transport in a city. At the moment, I live outside of the city center, in Vossenveld, but I like to go to the café Het Alternatief when I can. On Wednesdays, they have an improv jazz night, where some of my friends are playing regularly.

It has been easy making friends so far, especially with other internationals. Because there are so many internationals here and you have the experience of being an international abroad in common, it’s easy to strike up a conversation. But I haven’t met a lot of internationals from the UK so far, although the ones I met have been very nice. As a matter of fact, I met my girlfriend, who is Dutch, through a British friend of the both of us."

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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