Saying goodbye to Nijmegen

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

This summer has been a summer of saying goodbye to familiar places. One of the things I remember from reading Third Culture Kids* a few years ago, is the importance of saying goodbye to the country that you are leaving behind. Moving to a new country is very exciting but you should not forget that you are also leaving behind a home, friends, family. It is important to acknowledge that.

In my case I am saying goodbye to Radboud NijmegenUniversity Nijmegen, where I studied Business Communication and finished my PhD, and to Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, where I worked for 10 years as in house communication consultant. Most of all, I am saying goodbye to Nijmegen which has been my home for the past 16 years. To whom I am not saying goodbye, though, are my friends and family because I am counting on still seeing and hearing lots of them.

So, yes, I think you can say I will leave something of myself in Nijmegen, so I will certainly be back!

* Pollock, D. C., Van Ruth, E. R., & Van Reken, R. E. (2009). Third culture kids: Growing up among worlds: Nicholas Brealey Pub.


About Marian van Bakel

I graduated in International Business Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After my studies I was a Visiting Study Fellow at University of Oxford where I conducted a research on the adjustment of Dutch diplomats and their partners in London. In February 2012 I successfully defended my PhD thesis ‘In Touch with the Dutch’, in which I put expatriates in touch with a Dutch host to examine the effect of this contact on the success of the international assignment. During my PhD research I also worked as in house communication consultant at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently a postdoc at the Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy at the University of Southern Denmark ( Since 2004 I have done extensive voluntary work in the intercultural field for the Young Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research (Young SIETAR). One of my projects was to co-edit and co-author A Suitcase Full of Discoveries (2008), an intercultural storybook for children.
This entry was posted in Expatriation, Practice what you preach and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Saying goodbye to Nijmegen

  1. javier says:


    Im Javier (peruvian and spaniard). Im planning to go to Radboud University for 3/4 years for a PhD in dental materials/stem cells.
    If everything goes rithg, we (my wife and my 5 year daughter) will travel next year. We only speak English, Spanish and French, no Dutch at all but we learn fast.
    We use to live in Barcelona for 8 years so we are excited for getting back to Europe but scared at the same time.
    What advise can you give me?


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