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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: Sonia Tomegrós Regalado
Country of origin: Spain
Work: film and media entrepreneur

Meeting up with the internationals in this series is sometimes just like a blind date. We pick a location and we don’t know exactly who we are going to meet. We got in contact with Sonia after we posted a call for internationals to interview. She was enthusiastic right away. On a sunny day, we meet up at the Kleine Berg for coffee at Lucifer. “I’m still discovering the city, but I know where to get good coffee,” says Sonia while we take a seat. “My boyfriend and I arrived here in October 2017, but after a while, I went back to Spain. My boyfriend is a chef at a restaurant in Nuenen. A lot of Spanish chefs work in the Netherlands. The working conditions are better than in Spain and there is more work here. Back in Spain I sold our car and de rest of our belongings and came back to Eindhoven in January.”

When Sonia talks about Spain, we notice she isn’t very positive about living there. “We don’t have a lot of opportunities in Spain. That’s why we seek them elsewhere. A few years ago my boyfriend and I studied and worked in Australia for three years. I studied music and later I also studied fitness. Besides that, I worked as a photographer and film maker. We had so much fun. After three years we returned to Spain and we decided we didn’t want to stay. We travelled to Denmark to volunteer at an organic farm and to work at the restaurant, connected to the farm. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find an affordable apartment. Via an organisation specialised in jobs for Spanish chefs in the Netherlands, he got in contact with, he found his job in Nuenen.”

“Here in Eindhoven was finding an apartment also quite difficult. We were not in the position to buy a house or to pay a very high rent. Eventually, we found an apartment and now we are settled a bit. Now I can concentrate more on my own projects. I worked at Doc Feed festival and got in contact with filmmaker Frank van Osch. He hired me as a translator in the production of his documentary El Zapatero Cojo (The shoemaker and the photographer). That was a great experience. I’m also working on my own transmedia project. I want to make a series of documentaries accompanied by magazines. Every documentary and magazine have a theme to encourage people to make more wholesome choices in life. Something like this would be very difficult to make in Spain, here are people more open-minded and it has a bigger chance to succeed.”

And what does the future look like? “The ultimate goal for us would be to have our own restaurant. I would prefer it to be in Barcelona, but that has to do with the food culture there. In the Netherlands, food is more of necessity, in Spain, there is more love for food. My ideal restaurant would also have its farm, so we know where our products come from. But that is all for the future. We now first concentrate on our lives here in Eindhoven.”

Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel