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: Ines Lapenta
Country of origin: Peru
Work: Spanish teacher and entrepreneur

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    At community center ’t Trefpunt are lots of people coming and going this morning. Ines is already present and welcomes us with a smile: “It’s always busy here. I teach Spanish classes and I was on the waiting list to rent a classroom in the center. Yoga and ballet, ping-pong and a big banquet hall, there is so much to do here.” Ines teaches in Eindhoven, Brandevoort, Valkenswaard and, if necessary, throughout the Netherlands. “Here at ‘t Trefpunt I give group lessons, and besides that, I give private lessons and lessons to companies. The first year consists mainly of learning words and making sentences. Communicating is important, learning the grammar is the finishing touch.”

    Ines is a real international: “I was born in Peru, but my family is from Italy. I was at an international high school, with German as a language of instruction. My husband is Dutch and I got to know him at that school. So we know each other since we were kids.” Years later Ines lives in Barcelona and her now husband in Eindhoven. He visits her during his vacation. “He asked if I also would come and visit Eindhoven. From that moment we saw each other more often and we started our relationship. When I arrived 15 years ago I immediately said: “And where is the beach?”. In Lima I lived next to the beach, in Barcelona, I lived opposite the beach and here my husband said, “Come on, let’s go to Aquabest,” Ines laughs. “And that recreation area is fine too.”

    “Eindhoven has everything, with many activities and for children, it is also very nice”Ines Lapenta, Spanish teacher and entrepreneur

    Despite the fact that the beach is not close by, Ines really likes it here: “I love Eindhoven much. The city has everything, with many activities and for children, it is also very nice. I think that Eindhoven focuses on families. In Eindhoven lives a large group of Latin American people and we often see each other. Together with friends, I will take a walk or we do something fun together with the children. My children are both in high school. It is a bilingual education, Dutch and English, at Stedelijk College. And because we speak Spanish at home they are actually trilingual. I have such a multitude of languages in my mind that I do not really have a preferred language. Sometimes I watch television and do not even notice in what language the program is. But with emotions, everyone speaks in their native language, including me.”

    “I thought learning Dutch would not be difficult, because I speak German, but it was not helpful for me. It’s as if I have to make mistakes in German so it is correct in Dutch. Going from Peru to Spain was easy, it is the same kind of culture. And because of an exchange program with Germany in high school, the Netherlands was not a huge surprise to me, but I had to get used to it. For people who want to come and live here, I have the advice, that it helps to learn the language. You will, of course, come here with your own culture, your own background. But it is important that you accept that it is not the same culture here, but that you can adjust and respect it.”

    According to Ines, the Netherlands and Peru can’t be compared to each other: “It is completely different here. Here everything is so structured and in Peru, it’s not. And in the cultures are also significant differences. In Peru, people always think ‘mañana mañana’, so easy-going and life takes place outside. Here, life is much more planned. The spontaneous from South America it what my students think is really fun about me. In June, I always organize a language trip to Spain for my students. Learning a language is not just grammar and books, it is also getting familiar with the culture. During the trip, participants get intensive lessons, but also enjoy the country, the food and the feeling that not everything has to be planned.”

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

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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.