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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: Laura Yvañez
Country of origin: Spain
Work: Marketing and brand manager at the-bike

We noticed Laura for the first time on a photo on the Instagram account of Gordon Jack, also an interviewee in our series. Gordon photographed Laura in a colourful coat on a tour during GLOW and the image was spot on. This week we met up with Laura at Coffeelab and again she was dressed colourfully. “Yes, colours are my thing, my Instagram is also packed with colour,” she smiles when we ask about it. “That tour during GLOW was amazing. I met so many interesting and creative people.”

Laura caries a backpack with a lot of stuff. “I started my Dutch classes two months ago and I have my study material with me. I decided to do an intensive course and that means I’m in class for four hours a week and study for two hours every day. Reading is easier at the moment than speaking the language. There are a lot of differences in pronunciation in Spanish and Dutch. A simple word like ‘jij’ for instance has a sound to it that we don’t use in the Spanish language. At the company where I work everybody speaks Dutch, so I feel the need to learn Dutch as quick as possible. I’ve been working at the-bike for two months now. My work is very diverse and that is something I love, that makes it fun. I notice a lot of people here work as a specialist in something and they are the best at what they do. I’m more happy with doing lots of different things.”

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The last four years Laura had her own fashion company, but it was difficult to continue the company here in the Netherlands. “Everything was new to me here, also the rules and regulation about owning a business. Also, the production costs are higher here. That’s why I didn’t continue with my company here. Besides my job and learning Dutch, I’m still working on projects of my own, like my website where I share content about my international life, fashion style and decoration and design. I ‘m also a volunteer at The Hub. Nowadays I manage their Instagram account, but before I found my job, I was there a lot more. I would recommend to anyone to join The Hub, whether you are an international or not. Everybody is welcome and as a foreigner, you meet people who are in the same situation as you.”

Laura decided to join The Hub after she got a bit lonely from working from home every day. “I didn’t meet other people and when I worked at a communal workspace I didn’t connect with the other people there. I got out of my comfort zone and went to The Hub a few times. That’s where I found the social contact I needed. Most of my friends are internationals. In Spain is common to have friends at work too, who you see outside of work. I haven’t experienced that in the Netherlands yet. Everyone is very nice, but the conversations stay on a certain level. That isn’t a bad thing, but it is different from what I’m used to. In Spain, you go out for lunch and get to know each other more. Here most people make a distinction between work and private life, and again I don’t mean this is worse or better, it is just different.”

“Mainly in the weekends, I can enjoy some free time, because of my work and study. We love to go to the market on Saturday morning. There is a stall with dry sausages with all kinds of flavours we really love, so we always take some home. And of course, we get some more fresh products like fruit. After that, we like to have lunch in one of the restaurants at the Kleine Berg. I like this area because it is cosy. Depending on where there is a concert or event, we will go there at night. I would love it if there is a platform in Eindhoven with all the events on it. I sometimes miss nice events, because I didn’t know about it. Besides this, I’m very happy here. I take my bike and go to the forest or to the Karpendonkse Plas (a lake). I also loved Dutch Design Week and GLOW this year. These are amazing events. Everything I need is here and at the moment I don’t need more in my life.”

Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel
Read more stories of internationals here.