Expat life in Nijmegen: Martina, Croatia

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 Martina Valković from Croatia...

"I first arrived in Nijmegen in 2017, after a twenty-four-hour ride with a bus from Munich. Truth be told, when I first stepped out at the station, I thought: is that it? I had lived in Prague before, which is a big city, so for me, Nijmegen seemed small and slow. Having to wait for a bus for ten minutes was a big deal to me.

One of the things that changed my perspective on the city was getting a bike. Once you get a bike, it opens up the place in front of you. Looking back at it now, I think those first three or four months of my first living in Nijmegen were probably some of the best of my life. It was late summer, and it was peaceful. It almost felt like a holiday.

And I enjoyed the discussions in my new study. I had come here for a research master’s in philosophy, and it definitely exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be stricter and more serious, and I expected not to be good at it – but I was. At the moment, I’m a Ph.D. student at a German university, but I work and live in Nijmegen.

My favorite place in the city is probably Dekker van de Vegt. It’s big but has the feeling of a small bookstore, and they have a good selection. I can spend hours there. For eating out, I like this small Indonesian place, Tiffin, which is quite close to where my husband and I live. Their spring rolls are amazing – and also their banoffee pie.

And there is café Maxim, which is super nice. They have a lot of board games. Incidentally, both café Maxim and Tiffin are places where I went with my now-husband on our first date, so they have a sentimental value to me as well. But they are just great places in general.

One thing I do miss in Nijmegen is the sea. No offense to the sea in the Netherlands, but it can’t hold a candle to the Mediterranean. I’m from a seaside town in Croatia, and from my house there, you see the sea from the kitchen, from the living room, and from the bedroom. It’s everywhere. I grew up swimming for months every year – and I still enjoy swimming in a pool here, but it’s not the same."

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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