A Moldovan in Utrecht

Today we meet Nichita. who is from the capital of the Republic of Moldova, Chisinau. One of the greenest capitals in Europe. Nichita is 23 years old, and a Masters student in Business Development and Entrepreneurship at Utrecht University. He has had many international experiences abroad, studying, working as well as enjoying the pleasure of exploring new places and cultures. He personally loves to keep an active life, have a busy schedule, especially here in Utrecht since it’s full of different places. Nichita is always trying to find a balance between his ambitions for the future and to enjoy the present.

What brought you to Utrecht?

After completing my Bachelor’s in Economics and going for a year abroad in Australia, I’ve applied for a master’s degree in Utrecht. Why Utrecht? Well, from the economic and social perspective, the Netherlands in general is a country that is focusing a lot on sustainability and development. A lot of research and companies are taking active part in future innovations, aligning their goals to global issues. This has already intrigued me a lot.

At the same time, the living standards are pretty high, and I’ve noticed that people have a good balance between work and leisure time. Which actually helps enjoying your work and being productive. This is fundamental for young professionals nowadays.

Where is your favourite place in Utrecht?

Difficult to say. But I really enjoy walking along the main canal, Oudegracht. You can really feel the heart of the city. Some bars and cafes are also part of the distinctive vibe of Utrecht, and I tend to discover new ones. My favourite places are also where I can meet people and have a chat in front of a drink.

Does Utrecht inspire you?

Actually, a lot! The fact that it attracts so many young students and international people, makes it very special. My mind is continuously stimulated by the many conversations I have with people from different backgrounds. I never feel bored, there is always something happening out there. The secret is also to be open yourself!

What would be a perfect day in Utrecht for you?

Having a delicious breakfast in one of the cosy cafes around Utrecht. Where you can enjoy your coffee while working on your laptop. Then take a break and go to see if there are any markets in the city. Check maybe some second-hand shops for some vintage items and some music stores. Spend the afternoon with your flatmates. And later do some sport activities outdoor or a gym workout. Later for dinner, go to visit a friend and cook a meal together and enjoy a glass of wine. And if I’m not tired I would go and check some clubs to have a good time with some friends and maybe meet new people.

 

What is the main difference between the Moldovans and the Dutch?

I think Moldovans are people that are happier with simple things. I find Dutch people more focused on efficiency and productivity. But in general we are both hard workers.

Do you miss anything about Moldova?

Local products, like vegetables, cheese and wine. I’m not joking, but the land in Moldova is very fertile. If you go to the market you can have the best local products at a very cheap price. Even the smell of a tomato is different there.

My grandmas’ borscht should be mentioned here as well!

Do you think there is a Dutch way of life?

I came here not a long time ago and most of the people that I hang out with are other international students. So far, the Dutch people that I meet are incredibly friendly and helpful. At the same time, I might see a tendency of not losing time and keeping a busy agenda. I guess for me this might mean being Dutch. Being a fan of hockey is also quite a typical Dutch thing to be. I’ve also noticed a trend for healthy food and being sustainable in the daily choices.

Do you think you fit in to the Dutch way of life?

Well, I’m an open and adaptable person. But this is very subjective. Sometimes I feel a bit distant and less emotionally involved with other lives, which does not depend on how open you are. It takes time. But I believe that I can definitely learn from the Dutch way of life and in exchange I hope to bring something to the people I meet and interact. It’s a flow from both ways.

Do you know many Moldovan expats in Utrecht or do you make friends with the Dutch?

Well, as mentioned before, due to my international class I have made more international friends. No Moldovans yet. Actually, when people meet me they say that I’m the first person they’ve ever met from Moldova. What an honour!. Thanks to the fact that in The Netherlands everyone speaks English, it’s quite easy to have conversations and make Dutch friends.

Do you think the Dutch could learn anything from the Moldovans?

Maybe a bit of simplicity sometimes or some warmth.

Will you be staying in the Netherlands?

I’ll definitely try to find a job in the Netherlands and settle down here after my Masters. Sorry Mom!

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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