With my Erasmus friends and me preparing our departures, I realised that I should stop denying that my time here is coming to an end. What we pack into our suitcases and take away are many precious memories and experiences: academically and personally.
And yet, my friends and me are just a tiny percentage of all the international students coming to Nijmegen each year and each semester with the intention of making the Netherlands and especially that city in the East of this compact country our home.
Many of us are currently living in student dorms here. We are people from all over the world who decided at a certain point in life to spend a chapter of our lives in this special city. Even though we all have different reasons to come here and seek different things, we all share Nijmegen with each other. And this city on the Waal is just there and offers itself to us. So it is up to us to take away from it what we need and want. This makes for a very personal and unique experience, all coupled with this city.
A very valuable quality Nijmegen taught me is tolerance. It started in my student dorm with my flatmates and me coming from nine different countries and living together with all its implications. It continued with my international friends who became my family here, teaching me new things about other cultures every day and deepening my understanding of people with their unique characters and cultural backgrounds. Nijmegen and the Radboud Universiteit openend my eyes and changed my perspective by giving me exclusive input because the teachers, the people, the offers, the possibilities are unique to this place.
My time here, personally, made me more aware of my priorities in life and I learned to be more humble, to judge less, to travel light and to have an open mind in all regards. And I learned how important open borders are – in our heads and geographically. Thank you, Erasmus. Dank je wel en tot ziens, Nijmegen.
I want to finish with a quote by Harvey Lloyd which sums up this chapter of my life perfectly: ‘Travel is like an endless university. You never stop learning’. Let me give you one life advice: attend everything! Seize every opportunity life offers you: an event, a lecture, a journey, an encounter, a conversation, an experience. You will be surprised by what you gain out of it.