Isabel Duarte (30), Portugal

PhD in Comparative Genomics. Radboud University, Nijmegen

When I decided to study in the Netherlands, I realised that I actually knew very little about the Dutch culture. So the first thing I did was to Google “studying in Holland” and I found loads of useful information. I foresaw immediately that being a foreigner was not going to be a problem.

Soon after arriving I knew where to buy a bicycle, the closest supermarket, where to get detailed online information about public transportation and where to buy affordable second-hand stuff.

University-wise, I could have never imagined a better working environment. English is the standard language and I was welcomed as a new member into the scientific community of the Centre for Molecular and Biomolecular Informatics. They gave me a folder with detailed information about appointments I would need to make to arrange state and university-related formalities, making it easy not to miss out anything important.

Given that this is a very densely populated country, it can be hard to get a place to live. When I arrived, the student housing association arranged a temporary stay in a guest house apartment until I could find a place myself. Planning in advance was crucial for this, and now I am very happy with my housing situation.

Join local events

Last but not least, I made friends by joining local social events and try not to miss the country’s yearly events in order to really experience what it is like to live as a Dutch person. In the weekends I set out on trips to visit the country’s tourist attractions. More recently I have started to explore the neighbouring countries, since it is possible to do so in a very affordable way, given the excellent geographical position of the Netherlands.

And now, three years after my arrival, I confess… I am a huge fan of the colour orange!


last modified Jul 10, 2013 11:42 AM