Monday, December 15, 2008

Erasmus in Nijmegen

Hi everybody!

As you know I have been studying at Radboud University Nijmegen this semester. I arrived in this town on August 18 for the orientation days, which was the best way to meet people from all over the world. Some of them rapidly became my English-speaking friends, with whom I have gone out, had a drink or organised dinners. The programme of that week contained the visit of the city, of Amsterdam, a great weekend and, of course, some parties. All of this was organised by the ISN, which was also responsible for the parties and excursions we have had this semester (Texel, Maastricht or the Christmas market in Aachen, for example).

I live in a complex named Hoogeveldt with fifteen other students in my corridor. They are all Dutch except one girl who comes from Germany but she has been there for so long that she is nearly Dutch. Actually I have had difficulties to get in touch with these people. At first I could hear them but never saw them. Later on I met some of them but there remain some students I have never met. Even though I had a few conversations or dinners with these "flatmates", it was really difficult to have some real contacts (and it is still the case, actually). Nevertheless I have had other contacts with Dutch people, some of them having been very rewarding.

Dinner with some flatmates at Pinocchio

The Erasmus experience is indeed a real social experience. Whatever language you are using, you meet new people and it is very interesting. That is why I joined the Crossroads meetings organised by the Chaplaincy. Once a month we met with people from different cultures and shared a meal. Afterwards we had a guest and a discussion about a chosen topic.

As far as the university is concerned it is really different from Namur, being much bigger and greener. I really like it as well as the library even though it took me a long time to understand how to find a book. We have few lectures but a huge amount of work, especially readings, and when you have nice neighbours playing the guitar next to your room you are happy to have a place such as the library to be able to read without too much noise.

Of course, I use my bike to go to university or anywhere else. I must admit I prefer this means of transport to a car in this city with its huge roundabouts and with its traffic lights every 100 meters. Apart from riding my bike, I also use the terrific sport centre. Alone, with friends or with unknown Dutch people, you can do whatever you want to. Personally, I have taken a jazz dance course and regularly go to steps. I also like discovering new sports like sport games, body workout, spinning or anything else, without forgetting the great fitness room. I have never done so much sport and I really enjoy it. It would be so great to have this kind of facilities in Namur; I am sure lots of students would take part in sportive activities and therefore be fitter.

There are still lots of things to tell, as how much I like the city and its parks, but I have to stop somewhere and it will be here. I will be very happy to see all of you again in February. Meanwhile I wish you good luck for the exams and a happy new year.

No comments: