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: Esther Cavini
Country of origin: Italy
Work: Project manager at JL-Mag

We take a short drive outside the city to meet with Esther. She lives in Eindhoven and works in Schijndel. We can meet her during her lunch break. We arrive at the company, which is located on a business park. Esther makes tea for us and in the meanwhile eats her grilled cheese sandwich: “Lunch is quite different in the Netherlands, compared to Italy. At a few of my former employers was warm lunch available, but at the majority, I had to bring my own sandwiches.” With our tea, we go upstairs to a conference room and Esther continues her story.

“Back in 1997, I came to Eindhoven with the Erasmus program. Earlier I was on holiday in the Netherlands and met an Italian girl who also studied here with that program. Back in Italy, I discovered I wasn’t able to go to the Netherlands because there was no program for my Chemistry study. Thanks to the connections of my mathematics professor, I could go anyway. I was fortunate to join the group of professor Bert Meijer at the Technical University of Eindhoven. I was supposed to stay for six months, but I ended up staying eight months. I fell in love with a Dutchman, he is now my husband. This was all before Skype and WhatsApp. We were happy to send some text messages to each other. I had to finish my study in Rome so during that time we travelled back and forth.”

“Eindhoven has changed a lot in 20 years. Back then it used to be deserted on the weekends”Esther Cavini, Project manager

“After my graduation, I moved back to the Netherlands to be with my boyfriend. This time I was leaving my family for an indefinite time. That was a big step, but I live not that far away. I always kept in touch with Bert Meijer and he offered me a job at the university.  I wanted to work and be economically independent. My husband and I got married in 2000. Since then Eindhoven has changed a lot. The city got much more international.  It used to be deserted on the weekends. Personally, my perspective on the weather changed with all the different weather types here. My mother thought I was going a bit nuts when I was really excited about the sunny weather in Rome. I completely understand why Dutch people like to enjoy the sun so much. From the northern European people, the Dutch are the most south European types. They know how to enjoy life.”

Esther and her family also lived in a little town in Germany for a while. “It was a very closed community and it was difficult for me to find a job. Back then the German employers weren’t so keen on hiring a young woman. The maternity leave in Germany is about three years and apparently, lots of women work for a while, go on leave, work a short period of time and go on leave again. So the companies weren’t standing in line to hire me. I was very glad we returned to Eindhoven. In the three years we were away, I looked at the city differently. Before I had the comparison Rome-Eindhoven. And now I looked at the city after living in a small village. The only difficult thing was finding the right job here. Eindhoven is the city of engineering, physics and mechatronics and I am a chemist. Luckily I found a nice job.”

“In the beginning, I wasn’t looking for contact with other Italians. I wasn’t missing Italian stuff, but years later I joined an Italian WhatsApp group. It is a big group of people and we help each other out, but also occasionally get together for a cup of coffee. Every year we have a big dinner before Christmas with all the members and their family. I’m also a member of another group called Liberamente, this is a more cultural group. If you want to be a member you need to speak Italian. You do not have to be an Italian. Every month we meet up for a presentation, movie or discussion, always with a cultural touch. And of course there is food involved, I mean it’s an Italian group. What do you expect!” Esther laughs.

Esther also loves the theatre. Not only to visit but to be on stage as well. She even did a mime course and a clown course.  She started an improvisation group with her Spanish friend Lupe. At first at their community centre and later when the municipality decided to cancel all activities, they had to find a new space or group to join. “In the Parktheater were auditions for a play with internationals and unfortunately we didn’t make the cut. We knew one of the women who initiated the theatre group, the Dutch Carola Eijsenring. Carola helped us with starting our own storytelling group. Together with our director we created our show Dutch Dreams – Six ways to shore on new land. We performed in the Parktheater, Student Hotel and we will also perform at City Hall. We are looking for more performance opportunities. So if you read this and want to see our show, get in touch!”

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

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: Esther Cavini
Country of origin: Italy
Work: Project manager at JL-Mag

We take a short drive outside the city to meet with Esther. She lives in Eindhoven and works in Schijndel. We can meet her during her lunch break. We arrive at the company, which is located on a business park. Esther makes tea for us and in the meanwhile eats her grilled cheese sandwich: “Lunch is quite different in the Netherlands, compared to Italy. At a few of my former employers was warm lunch available, but at the majority, I had to bring my own sandwiches.” With our tea, we go upstairs to a conference room and Esther continues her story.

“Back in 1997, I came to Eindhoven with the Erasmus program. Earlier I was on holiday in the Netherlands and met an Italian girl who also studied here with that program. Back in Italy, I discovered I wasn’t able to go to the Netherlands because there was no program for my Chemistry study. Thanks to the connections of my mathematics professor, I could go anyway. I was fortunate to join the group of professor Bert Meijer at the Technical University of Eindhoven. I was supposed to stay for six months, but I ended up staying eight months. I fell in love with a Dutchman, he is now my husband. This was all before Skype and WhatsApp. We were happy to send some text messages to each other. I had to finish my study in Rome so during that time we travelled back and forth.”

“Eindhoven has changed a lot in 20 years. Back then it used to be deserted on the weekends”Esther Cavini, Project manager

“After my graduation, I moved back to the Netherlands to be with my boyfriend. This time I was leaving my family for an indefinite time. That was a big step, but I live not that far away. I always kept in touch with Bert Meijer and he offered me a job at the university.  I wanted to work and be economically independent. My husband and I got married in 2000. Since then Eindhoven has changed a lot. The city got much more international.  It used to be deserted on the weekends. Personally, my perspective on the weather changed with all the different weather types here. My mother thought I was going a bit nuts when I was really excited about the sunny weather in Rome. I completely understand why Dutch people like to enjoy the sun so much. From the northern European people, the Dutch are the most south European types. They know how to enjoy life.”

Esther and her family also lived in a little town in Germany for a while. “It was a very closed community and it was difficult for me to find a job. Back then the German employers weren’t so keen on hiring a young woman. The maternity leave in Germany is about three years and apparently, lots of women work for a while, go on leave, work a short period of time and go on leave again. So the companies weren’t standing in line to hire me. I was very glad we returned to Eindhoven. In the three years we were away, I looked at the city differently. Before I had the comparison Rome-Eindhoven. And now I looked at the city after living in a small village. The only difficult thing was finding the right job here. Eindhoven is the city of engineering, physics and mechatronics and I am a chemist. Luckily I found a nice job.”

“In the beginning, I wasn’t looking for contact with other Italians. I wasn’t missing Italian stuff, but years later I joined an Italian WhatsApp group. It is a big group of people and we help each other out, but also occasionally get together for a cup of coffee. Every year we have a big dinner before Christmas with all the members and their family. I’m also a member of another group called Liberamente, this is a more cultural group. If you want to be a member you need to speak Italian. You do not have to be an Italian. Every month we meet up for a presentation, movie or discussion, always with a cultural touch. And of course there is food involved, I mean it’s an Italian group. What do you expect!” Esther laughs.

Esther also loves the theatre. Not only to visit but to be on stage as well. She even did a mime course and a clown course.  She started an improvisation group with her Spanish friend Lupe. At first at their community centre and later when the municipality decided to cancel all activities, they had to find a new space or group to join. “In the Parktheater were auditions for a play with internationals and unfortunately we didn’t make the cut. We knew one of the women who initiated the theatre group, the Dutch Carola Eijsenring. Carola helped us with starting our own storytelling group. Together with our director we created our show Dutch Dreams – Six ways to shore on new land. We performed in the Parktheater, Student Hotel and we will also perform at City Hall. We are looking for more performance opportunities. So if you read this and want to see our show, get in touch!”

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.