People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, Innovation Origins has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Emir Efendić
Country of origin: Bosnia Herzegovina
Work: PhD Post-doc at Human Performance Management Group, Experimental psychologist

It is always nice when an interviewee makes suggestions for other candidates for this series. So did Llewellyn after his interview with us. He e-mailed us that he had a nice colleague from Bosnia who was also interested in telling his story. We set a date after our summer break. On the morning of the interview, we enter the Paviljoen building on the TU/e campus. It´s almost empty, the calm before the storm as next week the introduction for new students will start and it will probably not be as quiet and peaceful. On our way to Emir´s office, we run into him. He greets us warmly and takes us to the canteen of the building to sit down for a chat. “I’m part of the Human Performance Management Group and do research in the field of judgment and decision making. In a nutshell, my research is about how people make decisions, comprehend risks, and evaluate advice.”

“I did my bachelors and masters in Bosnia. During my study, I also took part in an Erasmus program and studied in Germany for a bit. Eventually, I did my PhD in France, in part due to the recommendation of my mentor in Sarajevo, and also because I got to work with two excellent researchers. Last year, I came across an ad for my current position on Twitter and luckily I got it. I didn’t know Eindhoven, but I visited the Netherlands before as a tourist. Helped by my experience of living in different countries, there were honestly few obstacles in coming to the Netherlands so I started at the university in November 2017. My start here in the city went pretty smoothly: the university helped a lot with the paperwork and I found an apartment thanks to a Facebook group. It helps that Eindhoven takes care of its expats. As an example, the website of the municipality is available in English and you can handle everything in no time.”

“Before I came here, I read up on Eindhoven. I know, it’s the nerdy approach, but I learned a bit about its history and also that this it is not considered a typical Dutch city with canals and old houses. The stereotype of Eindhoven seems to be that it is not that beautiful, but I see it differently. It’s the perfect size, very family friendly, with lots of bars and restaurants – frankly, there is not a lot to complain about. It’s important for me to highlight that I do not feel as an expat in Eindhoven; I feel part of the community. Similarly, the fact that the Netherlands is receptive to expatriates is extremely commendable. Indeed, I lived in different European countries and I got to see Europe at its best. I believe that this exchange of peoples and openness allows us to cherish the European identity, which currently may sound a bit starry-eyed, but I’ll champion it nonetheless.”

“For people who are thinking about coming to Eindhoven, my advice is to take the leap. It is a big decision, and yes moving to a new country can be difficult.  I may sound overly positive about the Netherlands, but most interactions I had here are positive. People are willing to help and they seem genuinely caring. Coming from a country where the system, both administrative and political is strained, to say the least, the Dutch, user-friendly environment is a breath of fresh air. You might pay a bit more in taxes here, but it is invested in our own wellbeing, it is put to good use. The Dutch might not always realise how good everything is organised here. I guess one of the biggest benefits of having expats is that they might put things in perspective. My girlfriend and I liked the atmosphere here so much, we got married in Eindhoven. We decided to invite our friends from all over the world to join the ceremony and to have a holiday here. It was a bit complicated to get everybody here at the same time, but we had a blast. We took everybody also on an obligatory trip to Amsterdam, but Eindhoven stole the show. Later we will also have a ceremony in Sarajevo for our extended families and we hope that some of our friends will join us there too.”

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About the author

Author profile picture Sabine te Braake is a writer and an entrepreneur. She loves Eindhoven, the city where she once started as a student.