Expat life in Nijmegen: Stuart, Australia

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 Stuart from Australia...

"I moved to Nijmegen in 2006, so I am a bit of a veteran when it comes to living in the Netherlands. In 2003, I left my job as a journalist in Melbourne to coach cricket in England and that’s where I met a team from Nijmegen, who wanted me to coach their team. Initially, I thought, don’t be silly, the Dutch don’t play cricket, but they were persistent. So, I came here, initially to coach for three months – and then I met the captain of the ladies’ cricket team. The rest is history.

After coaching cricket, I returned to Australia. I then came back and got a job in a communications agency, but it was in the middle of the financial crisis and I decided that I needed something more stable. So, I found a job in Amsterdam, working in communications for ING. That’s where I’ve been ever since. But I never thought about leaving Nijmegen. My partner is a Nijmegenaar through and through, I couldn’t imagine her moving to the west of the country.

Of course, Nijmegen is quite different from Australia. Australia is huge, and it has an incredibly diverse landscape. In Nijmegen – and in Europe in general – everything is confined and very close. From Nijmegen, you can quickly go to Cologne, Amsterdam, or Paris, but it would take you 3.5 hours to travel from one side of Melbourne to the other. That is a major difference.

I sometimes miss Australia’s great outdoors. There are still places where you think ‘maybe I’m the first person who has ever been here.’ It’s a country with a lot of beautiful nature, whereas here, all the trees are planted in straight lines and every square metre seems to be accounted for.

But Nijmegen is really a great city. Especially on a sports level, there’s an athletics club with world-class athletes, football, rugby, tennis, golf… virtually every sport! And the history of Nijmegen is also incredibly fascinating to me. Of course, a lot of the city was destroyed during WW2, so you have this mixture of old and new. And somehow, it works. The city has a feel to it that is quite young while being the oldest city in the Netherlands. When I tell people that I live in Nijmegen, they often have very positive associations with the city. And it’s not just the physical aspect of it, it’s the people as well."

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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