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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: Liz Montelongo, also known as Momo
Country of origin: Mexico
Study: Communications and International Business Consultancy at Fontys University of Applied Sciences

With school starting in two weeks again, the introduction week for new students is in full swing. On our way to Fontys to meet Liz, we see groups of students with backpacks and trolleys on their way to the Klokgebouw at Strijp S. That’s the place where the Fontys students will spend the night during their introduction. When Liz arrived she didn’t have a such an elaborate program to get to know the school, fellow students and the city: “I arrived here in February. We had a little get together with bitterballen and stroopwafels with the new students, but we started classes and projects almost right away. But that wasn’t a problem for me, I made a lot of friends in a short amount of time.”

“In my family, it is tradition that you also study abroad for a semester. One of my brothers studied in Spain and the other one studied in France. I wanted to do something different. I love the British culture, but it is way too expensive to study and live there. The University of Cork in Ireland was also an option until I found out they have a very expensive entrance exam. I did more research and found the study program of Fontys. I loved all the options and Eindhoven sounded so cool! In Mexico we have a saying when somebody is acting a bit posh: ‘It’s not like you are from Holland.’ We see this country as almost the ideal society. And now I have the opportunity to see it for myself.”

Coming to the Netherlands was a big adventure for Liz. “Oh man, my first time to Europe, all by myself! I used to live with my brothers and now I had to figure it all out on my own. Together with my two enormous suitcases, I travelled by train to Eindhoven. When I got out of the station it started snowing. I had never seen snow real life before, it was a beautiful start of my life here in Eindhoven. I was supposed to stay here until last July, but I didn’t want to go back to Mexico yet. My parents told me it was ok for me to stay here, but I would have to earn my own money for rent and other costs. So now I have two jobs, one at a bar and one at a restaurant, and a less expensive room. My main focus will, of course, be on my study, but I expect it to be difficult at times to combine my study with the jobs. It’s the price I have to pay to stay here, but it’s worth it.”

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“I’m really looking forward to starting with International Business in a few weeks. It is such a super cool course. My friends also did it and I loved their assignments. It connects well with my bachelor in communications and it will also be helpful in my future job. My dream job would be to work in the communications field for ASML or Philips,” Liz says with a big smile. “Yes exactly, I would love to stay in the Netherlands. I mean, come on, there are people here from all over the world and we are so welcome here! My friends come for instance from Peru, Denmark, France and of course the Netherlands, my boyfriend is Spanish, this is the land of everyone. I feel like I belong here because Eindhoven makes me feel like I belong here.”

“One thing that could be better in the Netherlands is the way media talk and write about Mexico. The Dutch people I meet often think Mexico is very dangerous and poor. Yes, it can be dangerous, most of the time it isn’t. It is just like the stereotype of everybody in the Netherlands loves smoking weed and is rude. That is also simply not true. I try to educate people on what’s life like in Mexico and vice versa I tell people about the good things that happen here.”

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