Sofie about studying in Nijmegen

Portretfoto Sofie Buesink
Both the university and its surroundings make me feel safe.
Previous education

Sofie enjoys studying Biology (Master's specialisation in Conservation and Restoriation Ecology). A fun fact about her is that she collects beer coasters: ''they hang on my wall, the count stands at 184''.

Why did you choose to study at Radboud University?

I didn't really know what I wanted to study, so I chose mainly by feeling. When I walked around Nijmegen during and after the open day, the environment just felt nice. The city is big enough for a vibrant student life, but small enough for a cosy and safe feeling. Besides, I was also really in love with the surroundings, the hills and the river. So although my choice was not really thought through, I never regretted it and if I had to choose again now, I would definitely choose Nijmegen again. It is super cosy here and both the university and the world outside give me a safe feeling, I feel that everyone is welcome here.


What do you think of Nijmegen's student life?

Very cool. I am not someone who spends every night in a bar, but the city is definitely lively. What I also find special about student life in Nijmegen are the associations. There is not one big social association that occupies a central position. That is why I feel that study and theme associations are much more important here. A sports association, for instance, not only organises training, but also other activities. The nice thing is that at a theme association, you always meet people with the same interests. And there are so many of them!


Do you live in Nijmegen and how do you like it?

I have been living in my room since the beginning of my studies, when I was 17. It was a big step, of course, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It's super fun to experience the freedom you get when you start living on your own and it helped me a lot with building my new life. Especially in the first year, fellow students often had to make time for the train home, but since I was here 24/7 anyway, I had time for a side job and a membership at the debating society. It makes it so easy to meet new people and gives you much more space to shape your new life. I don't want to say it's impossible to do that when you keep living with your parents, but I do think I would have found it more difficult. Moving into a room remains a personal choice and for me it was a good move, but for other people it might be good to wait a while longer.


How do you experience the atmosphere at Radboud University?

I think the atmosphere at Radboud is so mega-good! I really feel that everyone is welcome here. I notice that, for example, in the commitment of lecturers and student advisors. If I have a problem, I can always go to someone and when I wasn't studying I never felt that was a problem. I feel welcome and heard here. Besides, I think it's just really cool that there are people at the university who are experts in the things I find interesting. I am grateful that those people want to teach me and that I am in such an inspiring environment.

Did you find it easy to make friends at Radboud University?

I met a lot of people in a very short time and I found it difficult to form 'quality' friendships among them, I was a bit overwhelmed. In addition, in the back of my mind was very much the classic phrase 'your student time is the best time of your life!'. That idea gave me a lot of pressure. I often thought: is this it? Shouldn't I go to parties more often? Or less? Am I doing it right? In the end, it really took me some time to meet the right people, but I can now say with certainty that I have the nicest friends in the world. In hindsight, I should have worried a lot less. Studying also means quite a change on a personal level, so I had to get to know myself better before I could form pleasant relationships with other people. That takes time, but that's not a bad thing.


What would you advise your younger self who just started her studies?

Worry less! I could stress so much about the study itself, whether I was making enough friends, whether I was showing my best side, and so on. That is no fun and makes no sense at all. Everything will work out in the end, but it takes time and space. Listen to your feelings, and take good care of yourself.