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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: Colin Burke
Country of origin: Ireland
Work: Starting entrepreneur

It’s the end of the workday. While lots of people leave the High Tech Campus by car or bicycle, a group is getting ready for a warming up on the field of the campus’ sports facilities. They are members of the touch rugby team Eindhoven Touch.  We are welcomed by Colin, one the founders of the team. “You can join the practice if you want to, “ he says. Maybe next time. “This is a mixed sport and sometimes there are more women than men present. It is a non-contact sport, a touch constitutes as a tackle. Everybody can join. We practice on Thursdays on the campus and on Saturdays in the park next to the Evoluon, the Jacob Oppenheimerpark. We even incorporated the Evoluon in our team logo.”

“I want to help other expats to have a good start and happy life here in Eindhoven”Colin Burke, Entrepeneur

Sport is an important part of Colin’s life. “There is more to life than work. Through sports, I can socialise and relax, and connect with people. I think you can learn a lot from the interaction on the field and use that in your daily life and work. For instance, in this game, it’s all about communication, support and trust. Things you also would like to have within a corporate team. The skills you learn during playing sports, you can bring back to work with you. I notice that companies are sometimes losing their human touch and it is only about the results for them. To my opinion, it works if the interaction between employer and employee is a crossover of work and socialising. You can work ànd have fun.”

After working all over the world, Colin came to Eindhoven to work for ASML and later on for Philips. And now he´s starting his own business and he has big plans: “I’m starting my own company, but I think social enterprise is a better word. The word company feels cold to me. I want to set up an eco-system. That is maybe a big word, but that´s what I have in mind. In and with that ecosystem I want to help other expats to have a good start and happy life here in Eindhoven. I want to create a trust-based platform where expats come to us and find in our network trustworthy companies that focus on needs of the expats, not just their own needs. I’m already in touch with the city of Eindhoven, the Expat Center and here on the campus, I would like to connect with Expat Spouses Initiative. Together we can make the expat experience even better.”

Colin is very enthusiastic about the way things work in Eindhoven: “It’s easy to get around here. It feels like a village and operates like a city. You can get things done and the people are very friendly. I notice it especially in making connections business wise. Most people want to help me and say ‘let’s see how we can collaborate.’ I love that spirit in Eindhoven and the fact that everyone is very open. As an expat you are so welcome here, the people here want you to integrate, so that you are part of society.  I also like it there is an Expat Center here. I’m too proud to ask for help,” he chuckles, “but they do a lot for the expats. I hope I can collaborate with them because I have a lot of ideas. I have the emotional experience as an expat, I have walked the walk.”

Read all the stories about internationals in Eindhoven here.

Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel