The expat top-10 aims the spotlight on the internationals that help Eindhoven progress. E52 sat down with each winning expat to talk about their experiences and perspective on the city they once came to, and never got away from. Today: The Hub Eindhoven for Expats co-founder Lin Pender.
Name: Lin Pender
Age: Just put 45, will you?
Profession: Co-founder and volunteer at The Hub Eindhoven for Expats
Living in Eindhoven since: 2006
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Lin Pender, the expat helping other expats, co-founded the Expat Hub in Eindhoven. Their goal is to help Eindhovens internationals find their way and settle down in their new city. The Hub also would like to position Eindhoven as the number one go-to-place for expats and their families by 2020.
‘You’ll love Eindhoven’
“Some friends told me. My husband and I were living in Edinburgh, Scotland at the time. And one of his bosses was Dutch, he told him about a job opening in Eindhoven, at Philips. I had already worked abroad, my husband hadn’t. He asked me if we should do it and I said let’s go.”
“At first it was hard, for the first six months I felt rather miserable actually. It was hard to meet new people and I didn’t speak the language at all. In time, I decided to go to these meetings for expats in Eindhoven. We would meet up in groups and go to bars. After a while we got to know each other a lot better, which helped me in feeling at home here. I found out that it’s the people that make the place.”
‘I started getting involved in the Hub’
“It became part of my philosophy: It’s the people that make the place. So I wanted to help other new expats in meeting new people, I wanted to give them a home. About that time, the Hub came to be. Together with Joost van Dijck I started looking for a location for the Hub. To be fair, most of the weight was on his shoulders. He had all the talks with the city about a proper location.”
“After a while we finally were appointed a building we could use. At first, the city wanted to put the Hub at Strijp-S, but we asked if we could be moved to the center of Eindhoven a bit more. We then had to wait again until we got appointed the Vestdijk, we were so happy when it finally happened.”
“There was still work left though. This was an old garage, it had been empty for the past 17 years. I’ve spent days on end tearing the carpet from the floor. Joost made all of the tables we have out of scaffoldings. We really put our back into it.”
‘Some moms just can’t hack it’
“The Hub revolves around volunteers, one way to generate income is through partnerships with companies that have a lot of expats on their payroll. We are trying to convince them that if the expats spouses aren’t happy in their new home, they won’t stay around for long. So by helping us keeping the expats happy it becomes more attractive for them to stay here. Some moms really have a hard time finding their way around here.”
“I found it quite daunting myself, everybody here speaks some form of English, but some don’t at all. I used to go to the supermarket each day because there was a girl there that spoke English pretty well. It was funny, she once asked me if I was English. ‘No, I’m Scottish, I replied. Which she answered with: ‘Oh, I’m so sorry but I don’t speak any Scottish.”
‘The Dutch have long pockets but short arms’
“They are much like the Scots in that way. Having short arms meaning they can’t reach for their money if they need it. I’m not saying they’re cheap, but they do watch their money. There’s also a shared sense of directness between the Scots and the Dutch. If you do anything that they don’t like, they will definitely tell you.”
Thursday, E52 will feature an interview with expat Bert Blocken. Read all the articles in the series on Expats in Eindhoven here.
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