Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 months in Nijmegen

Once upon a time Germanic students who had already spent some years in Namur decided to go off to other countries in search of adventure. I was one of the two who landed in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Everything began in mid-Augustus when I took part in the “Introduction week” of the Radboud University. This introduction week is really a must do: 10 days to discover the city, the university, the sport centre but also to meet the other international students, to buy a Dutch SIM-card and a bike (which is to become your best friend as life is unthinkable without it).

But summer doesn’t last forever; the 29th of August it was already time to go back to school. In the Netherlands an academic year is divided into 4 blocks. I had 3 classes during the first block (end August-end October) and 4 during the second one (end October-end January) which leaves a lot of time for social life (yes in Nijmegen the weekend lasted 5 days and the week 2 days). But this doesn’t mean that you’ll take it easy for 5 months. Dutch people are fan of weekly assignments and of scientific articles also to read weekly.

And once the weekly assignments are done? I lived in Hoogeveldt, a student complex at 5 minutes from the University and from the sport centre and at more or less 10 minutes from the city centre. This is a perfect location given that other people living in another complex named “Lent” had to bike 25 minutes to go to the university. So, don’t worry you’ll make plenty of sport even if you don’t register at the sport centre which would be a mistake. Indeed the sport card is a must have. It offers a large panel of activities, from common ones like tennis or football to more special ones like capoeira. You can register for weekly classes or buy so-called ticket hours which give you access to whatever sport you like at whatever time you want. In Hoogeveldt there is also a shop (useful when you forgot something at the AH) and a student pub called “Piecken”. This is the place to be every Tuesday evening as an international party takes place there every Tuesdays. And if it’s not enough for the week, Thursday is also likely to be a party day but this time in the city centre (you won’t forget to eat kaas uit de muur at 6 in the morning before going back to sleep of course). At the end of the week there are the Sunday Sessions at a bar in the city centre. There, you can hang out and enjoy live music or even go to play a tune yourself. Other activities are also organized by the RIS (Radboud International Students) such as the visit of other cities, of a brewery. If you took part in the introduction week you are also invited to a mentor diner every month, when you meet again your group and your mentors to enjoy a meal often including dishes from all over the world.

What else? If I had to summarize the whole experience in one word it should probably be WONDERFUL. The Erasmus exchange made me discover a wonderful city, full of wonderful people and now wonderful memories. The fat lady has sung too early, 5 months are too short but they were, and will probably stay, the best months of my life.

1 comment:

homo vegetus said...

This was a very interesting to read. I'm going to live in Nijmegen for the next years of my life for a PhD and I think I've collected some useful information here already :)