New in Nijmegen (1): Gozdenur Ayyildiz

29 Jan 2019

Over 200 international students are arriving this week from every inhabited continent of the world. They start with orientation week. Today: Gozdenur Ayyildiz, last year of bachelor, who firmly promised herself to learn how to cook during her Dutch stay.

A new adventure has started, the new international students are ready to discover their ‘new temporary home’ and to join the wintry orientation week. Certainly the weather in August was warmer than today, but without any doubts these welcoming days will as well include time to get to know each other better, explore the university, go on city tours and, of course, party.

Ayyildiz is coming from Istanbul, Turkey and she is in Nijmegen as an exchange student for one semester. She studies Industrial Engineering and this year she will end her bachelor. However, since Radboud University does not provide lectures of her faculty, she decided to enroll in several courses of Management, since it perfectly matches her area of interest and it also represents a challenge.

‘My first choice was Belgium’

Ayyildiz chose Nijmegen for a specific purpose, ‘I was looking for a high-ranking university and Radboud was working for me’ she said, continuing: ‘I have several friends that studied at this university, everyone told me that the Netherlands is a nice country to live and especially well-connected to wherever you wish to go’. It’s true, when your own friends are supporting your choice, the deed is done. Ayyildiz has already travelled across Europe, she has visited Italy, France and Germany. Travelling was one of the reasons to move here. ‘The Netherlands was not my first choice, but it is close to Germany and I have relatives and friends there, so it is fine!’. After a short instant of silence, she confessed, smiling: ‘My first choice was Belgium’.

When asked what she would like to learn during her stay in Nijmegen, Ayyildiz’ answer is quite surprising: ‘Inshallah, cooking!’. Right after, she explained that in Turkey, it is really cheap to buy ingredients and prepare your meal. Her mother has always told her that she needs to learn how to cook since it is part of the tradition. Ayyildiz revealed that she does not know how to cook yet, but she promised that ‘as I will live in the dorm, I am going to learn how to do it for me and my flat-mates’. With a more serious tone, she added that of course cooking is not her only goal. Actually she went abroad in order to meet new people, share her culture and know different traditions and habits.


Ayyildiz is a cheerful and determinate person, she seemed completely comfortable in her new surroundings, even though she just arrived. It became clear once she said: ‘You know, I am also a mentor in my home university, so I feel like at home right now. It is amazing that here people are trying to help me, while it is usually me that helps other students, providing them with information’. Ayyildiz has been surprised by the politeness and courtesy that she found at her arrival in the university.

She was actually worried that most of the northern European cities were a little bit ‘cold’ since Turkish people are very welcoming’, nevertheless she feels really lucky because ‘Dutch people really want to help you’. Her hope is that it will continue to be like this during all the exchange period. It is known that first impressions are everything.

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