Expat life in Nijmegen: Sorina, Romania

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 Sorina from Romania...

"When I was in my first year of high school, I wanted to go to university in the UK. But then Brexit happened, so that was not a feasible option anymore. The Netherlands, however, had a lot of English-language programs and it seemed quite accessible.

I found Radboud through a fair that was organized at my high school. I can’t remember if Radboud was among the universities presenting, but when I later checked out the organizers of the event online, I saw Radboud on their website and knew it was the right fit. Right now, I’m in the second year of my psychology bachelor’s.

One of the first things I noticed about Nijmegen was that the buildings were quite short. And that everything was so organized. And I was shocked to see so many bikes. Everything looked nice and happy – the day I arrived was really nice – so my first impression was definitely good.

I still have a good impression of the city. The weather, especially in the winter, is sometimes difficult to cope with, but I discovered some places in the city that I really like. One of them is Bhalu. I like that the people there are friendly and I love their homemade pastries. They’re not too sweet and they don’t taste artificial.

There have been a lot of culture shocks since I moved here, but what shocked me the most is that the Netherlands is a very individualistic country. That was surprising, to say the least. For example, if something happens on the street, I just see people passing by most of the time, but no one stops to see how the other person is doing.

But I also see that in my everyday interactions. When I hold the door for someone, they don’t look at me, and they don’t say thank you. When I see a neighbor in the hallway, they don’t stop to talk. I even see them rushing to close the door so they don’t have to interact with me.

I have quite a solid friend group, and I feel very connected to them, but I think part of why we feel so connected is because we’re all internationals, struggling and going through the same things. I don’t really have a lot of Dutch friends. I wish I would, but they're often not interested in developing closer friendships with internationals."

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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