A little under two months ago, I condensed my life down to 44kg and began my study abroad adventure at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands. Finding accommodation couldn’t have been much easier, and my room was confirmed and the first instalment paid for before I even arrived, which definitely made my move over here smoother as I had one less thing to worry about.
From around May I started to receive emails from Radboud about registration, the orientation week, and accommodation. Student accommodation complexes in Nijmegen are owned by an organisation called SSHN; although, like in Leeds, there are many complexes throughout the city, only three are open to what they call ‘short stay students’ i.e. students on an exchange programme: Hoogeveldt, Talia, and Vossenveldt. In the unlikely chance that you do not get a room in these complexes, SSHN help you to find private accommodation in the city.
The application for housing is done online through Osiris, Radboud’s student portal; you just have to state the maximum rent price you could afford each month, and your preferred complex. The information about the complexes on SSHN’s website is quite brief and vague, and the photos are very small, which made it difficult to get a ‘feel’ for what each complex might be like. However, I chose Hoogeveldt primarily on the basis that it is the cheapest at 360 euros per month, and the closest to the university (5 minutes by bike – all distances are measured by bike here!).
I share my flat with 15 others, but there are some smaller flats. The flat contains a large kitchen and living area, three toilet rooms, three shower/washrooms, a washing machine, tumble dryer, and bedrooms with a sink and mirror. Initially I was anxious at the thought of living with so many people, but on the whole it has worked out perfectly; cultural differences between international flatmates means that we tend to cook, eat and wake up at different times, so the kitchen and bathrooms are never over crowded. I love living with so many people, and the large kitchen allows for a really nice social space – every week we cook a big dinner together with food from all over the world. There is also lots of open space behind Hoogeveldt where people like to hang out and have barbecues.
Kitchen and bedroom packages can be purchased through SSHN before arrival and are placed in your bedroom ready for when you arrive: they contain a full bedding set, and basic kitchen utensils, such as pans, bowls, plates, cutlery and glasses. Although the packages can seem quite expensive, I recommend buying them as the orientation week is so jam-packed that it might be a while before you find time to go and find a homeware shop to buy everything, and nobody wants to be eating off a plastic plate for two weeks.
I would say that the only downfall is that we don’t have enough fridge and cupboard space in the kitchen. However, the bedrooms are spacious, and many people buy cheap mini-fridges to keep in their room. The rooms come with a single bed, shelving unit, desk, coffee table, office chair, lounge chair and a set of drawers. And if you’re lucky enough to live on the west-facing side, you’ll see some amazing sunsets.
Written by Rachael Vickerman – Radboud University, Netherlands