Student Blog

Bush stop

23 Nov 2022

More than 600 exchange students are joining Radboud University this year. English Literature student Holly Hartley from the University of Exeter is one of them. For the upcoming semester, she is going to participate in a letter exchange, discussing her experience in Nijmegen with Julia Vosmeijer, an English Language and Culture student from Radboud who is going to do an exchange in Holly's home county, Kent.

Dear Julia,

I loved hearing about your first experiences in England, especially the differences between nightlife in the Netherlands compared to the UK. In fact, that was one of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Nijmegen too. To me, it seems as if students in the Netherlands dress up to go to a lecture like students in England would dress up to go out with friends. In England, people usually turn up to class in tracksuits or other comfy outfits. In fact, one of my friends back home famously attended one of our 8:30AM seminars in her pyjamas and slippers.

A lot of my British friends, myself included, also find it funny that you drink beer in the clubs here – in England, this would probably earn you a few funny stares from people across the dancefloor. But I’ve been embracing this new way of life and I’m definitely enjoying the more laid-back approach to going clubbing – especially as beer is way cheaper than my usual choice of vodka-coke.

But so far, the biggest culture shock for me, you probably guessed it, was the Dutch cycling culture. In the most positive sense, that is. I recently purchased a new bike and I love to just be able to hop on and go on an adventure anywhere I want. I am from a quite rural area in England, so I’m used to cycling, but for lots of my city-dwelling friends, the biking lifestyle here in Nijmegen came as quite a shock. So far, there have been a few near misses and late-night-alcohol-induced-bush-crashes, but I’m slowly getting used to the Dutch way of cycling anywhere, at any time and no matter the weather conditions.

I find it hard to believe that I’ve only been living in Nijmegen for three months now. It already feels so easy to call this place ‘home’ and, all differences aside, Nijmegen reminds me of my home in England in many ways. But even though I haven’t felt too homesick yet and if anything, grown to love the relaxed way of life in the city, I do feel rather nostalgic for home. Especially when it comes to missing my family and friends. It’s a peculiar sensation, finding a new piece of home somewhere and realising that it’s still not quite home.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Holly x

Read Holly Hartley's blogs here

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