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People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Brenda Achere
Country of origin: Cameroon
Work: Engagement Lead at Medx eHealthCenter

On a rainy morning, Brenda enters Happiness Kitchen with her 2-year-old daughter in a stroller. It is Brenda’s day off, so she has time to meet with us. She greets us with three kisses, sits down and starts with her story right away. “I came to Eindhoven as a student in 2010. I studied Business Administration at Fontys. My husband already studied Mechanical Engineering here from 2004 till 2008. He liked it here and he thought I would as well. In Cameroon, I did a study at the university, but the transition to this school was quite challenging. The teaching methods are very different. In Cameroon the teachers dictate all information in French, here I worked with textbooks, making notes by myself and answer questions in my own words. I had a great start, the teachers loved me and my effort.”

Brenda is very enthusiastic about internships. “I had the opportunity to do different internships. I was very happy to learn what I could expect in the work field when I would graduate. My first internship was at a refinery company. At the end of my internship, they offered me a part-time job, but my mentor at school said it would be too challenging with the work in my next semester, so I didn’t take the job. Looking back, I regret that. I should have tried, but I learned from my decision. My final internship was at DHL and my assignment was to find a way to make audits work within the company. Today I work at a very nice company. I joined the team when the company was just starting. I want to start with a masters study besides my work, so I can do my job even better.”

“To anyone who wants to come and study here I would give the advice: learn the language”Brenda Achere, Engagement Lead at Medx eHealthCenter

“A job, a family and later this year a study, well, that’s quite busy. But I need to find a way to make it work. The master is something I really want to do. If I don’t start, the years will pass by. I just have to do it. To anyone who wants to come and study here I would give the advice: learn the language. I’m coaching internationals students at Fontys and I notice students are struggling to get an internship because they don’t speak Dutch. At Fontys students must do a minor for six months. It would be good to have a Dutch course at school that students can do during the minor. Speaking and learning the language, kickstarts their career. Eindhoven should also have a career event with all kinds of companies, for all the students.”

We talk about Brenda’s family life. Her son is in kindergarten and her daughter goes to preschool. “I have good contact with the other parents at school and my son made a lot of friends. He also takes swimming lessons. We integrated very well,” she smiles, “His friends were learning how to swim, so we thought it would be good for him too.” Brenda tells us about her family: “African families are big. I always wanted four children, but now I think, here in the Netherlands, two is great too if I want to develop my career and realise my vision for the future. In Cameroon, life is different and everybody helps each other with their kids. Here that´s not the case. It is busy, that’s why I go the gym twice a week to have some time for myself. And I’m taking driving lessons, so I don’t have to depend on public transportation anymore. I have a happy life here, Eindhoven is my town, I feel at home. The activity level is high, but that suits me well. There is a lot of spirit here.”

Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel