Radboud University welcomes hundreds of international students every year. These students have a refreshing take on student life in Nijmegen (a change of perspective, if you will). Vox met with four internationals. What do they think of our university and where do they see room for improvement?
Niyara Mardamova (31) is from Uzbekistan and completed part of her Master’s programme in Planning, Environment and Territories at Radboud University. “The first thing I noticed was how many people smoke outside the entrance to the University Library. It’s disgusting, unhealthy and very unprofessional.” In addition to the smoking policy, Niyara also questions the internationalisation policy – or lack thereof, in her opinion. “Radboud University prides itself on being international, but a lot of the signs are still in Dutch. The doors to the lavatory in the Refter, for example, are labelled ‘H’ and ‘D’. I had no idea which one to use.” Despite these issues, Niyara is extremely positive about Radboud University. “The university has some truly fantastic spots. The law library is my favourite place to study and the Cultuurcafé is a great place to socialise.”
American student Griffin Smith (21, Bachelor of History) is having the time of his life in Nijmegen. “Radboud University tries really hard to establish a nice culture for international students. The orientation week made it really easy to meet other international students, but it also created a bit of a bubble: as an international student, I found it hard to meet Dutch students, which is still something I’d very much like to do. I’d love to see the university try a bit harder to help us integrate into Dutch student life.”
Lara (23, Master of Philosophy, Italian) and Marietta (24, Master of Political Science, Swiss) are sitting in the coffee corner. They are quick to share some areas of improvement. “Why did they get rid of the microwaves at the Refter? The food there is terrible, so at least let us warm up our own,” says Marietta. Lara sees considerable differences between Radboud University and her alma mater in Milan. “Everything is so well-organised here. For example, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Milan last year but I still haven’t received my diploma. Everything takes much longer in Italy.” As a philosophy student, Lara has a lot of praise for our university, but she draws the line at the University Library. “Good novels, like those by Tolstoy and Leopardi, are few and far between. Not very many international students have a library card, which makes it hard to find good books to read in our free time.”