Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nijmegen: linguistic diversity and Erasmus community

In this blog, you won’t find any information about the city of Nijmegen. You can surf on the Internet, type Nijmegen on Google Earth and visit the city by yourself. You won’t either read anything about the courses offered by the Radboud University, because choosing courses depends on personal choices. However, if you like America, Nijmegen is perfect for you. There you can choose courses on American literature, culture and even politics. What you are going to read relates to the linguistic diversity and the Erasmus community.

The Erasmus stay in Nijmegen starts on the 15th of August with a perfect and well-organized Introduction Week. Dutch students of the Radboud University (the mentors) showed us the city, the university and the sports centre. Every day, we had different activities, games and parties to get in touch with other Erasmus students, but also with Dutch people and their culture. This wonderful week ended with an unforgettable international weekend. Somewhere at the heart of wild Dutch woods, other games and parties were organized by our mentors for the Erasmus community of Nijmegen. During that weekend, I spoke Dutch, English, French and Spanish. I was like a child making new friends in a linguistic paradise. After the Introduction week, you can’t be worried anymore to be an isolated Erasmus student in a foreign country. You know the city, the university, the huge sports centre; you have a bike and you have new friends from all around the world.
More or less 4 days a week, I ate with other Erasmus students, mostly from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium. I didn’t eat with Dutch students because they have dinner at 5.30 pm, but I lived with them. As a consequence, that was the perfect linguistic mix: speaking Dutch during the day and English at night. The English we spoke was not RP English, but well a beautiful International English with different accents. The German English is funny and the Spanish one is really sexy. When you come back from Nijmegen, you understand that the international norm is hopefully not RP English, but well International English with all its colourful distinctions in phonology, vocabulary and prosody. Nijmegen and its Dutch mentors devoted to Erasmus students enabled me to discover new cultures and to speak 2 or 3 different languages every day. I think this is the strength of Nijmegen: the omnipresence of Dutch and English in a united Erasmus community. You can’t find this linguistic diversity in Cork or Canterbury and a magic Introduction Week as well organized as in Nijmegen doesn’t take place in Utrecht, Maastricht or Leuven.

To conclude, if you want to speak Dutch and English every day within a united Erasmus community, go to Nijmegen. Your will start your stay in mid August and finish it at the end of January. This is the longest, but the greatest. Believe me!!


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