Expat life in Nijmegen: Kyran, Aruba

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 Kyran from Aruba...

"I moved to Nijmegen in 2020 to study English Language and Culture at Radboud. I had already gotten all the procedures started the year before, so when Covid happened, I decided to not push it back. But because of all the lockdowns and all the classes being online during my first year, I didn’t really have an easy time making friends in the beginning.

I also joined Mixed Martial Arts classes, which was a lot of fun, and an online magazine group to meet people. But we had to keep our distance during lockdown or, in the case of the latter, had meetings online. It’s very difficult to make friends and to talk to people if you’re just sitting in front of a Zoom screen.

However, I made friends eventually during the rest of my bachelor’s, mostly through elective classes I took. But even then, I have to say that I gravitate more towards the other international students. Simply because we all had more similar backgrounds, and everyone understood what it was like moving into a new culture.

A while ago, I had a negative experience coming out of the supermarket, where I was stopped by a man who first asked me where I was from and then told me that racism doesn’t exist. I can talk about those experiences with my friends and make a joke out of it. I think you have to make light of situations like this.

But there are still cultural things I grapple with. For example, I haven’t really gotten used to the food. For example, I like to eat a big lunch at noon, but here, people do that in the evening. And I think Arubans are much more sociable than Dutch people – which is not to say that Dutch people aren’t friendly. Because they are.

Of course, I expected there to be cultural differences between Aruba and the Netherlands. So, I knew that it would be different. But that doesn’t mean you’re prepared for it when you actually experience it.

On the other hand, one thing that definitely positively surprised me about Nijmegen was how queer-friendly the city is. You go out and see a lot of gay pride flags. I do like De Regenboog as well – there wasn’t a gay bar in Aruba when I was still living there, so I really like that they have one 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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