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: Francisco Heredia
Country of origin: Mexico
Work: Software engineer at Seecubic

On a Monday morning, we ring the doorbell of Francisco’s house. He opens the front door and signs we have come in quietly. When we enter the living room, Francisco explains his six-month-old daughter is asleep upstairs. On the baby monitor, we see the baby, sleeping like on a cloud. “We just returned from our summer vacation and she needs to find her rhythm again,” Francisco tells, “Monday is my day to take care of our little girl, papadag like the Dutch call it. It is a great thing that I get to spend a whole day with her alone every week. It good for the bond with a baby and I get to go through the good and the bad on a day like this.”

Francisco lives in Eindhoven for quite some time now. “And I wasn’t even the one in our family who got us here in the first place. My girlfriend, and now wife, wanted to study abroad and she came to the Netherlands. She studied in Delft and did an internship at the High Tech Campus here in Eindhoven. I was finishing my master in Mexico at that time. When I visited my girlfriend when she lived here, I really liked it the Netherlands. After I graduated I applied for PhD’s in different countries, also in the Netherlands. The TU/e had no PhD position for me, but they could offer me a PdEng position. I accepted and moved to Eindhoven. This was in 2010 and in 2011 my girlfriend graduated  and found her dream job in Mexico. I wanted to stay here, so the tables turned, with me in the Netherlands and her in Mexico. After I finished my PdEng I wanted to stay here, because there were more opportunities here for me. Luckily, my girlfriend returned to the Netherlands to join me again.”

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“All the customs around bringing a baby into this world is in the Netherlands different than in Mexico, where our daily life is much more family oriented. This is our first child and we are practically alone here. Of course, we have friends, but that is not the same as having your parents around in such intense times. Our families were also very nervous about giving birth at home, what is very common here. We decided to go to the hospital when the moment was there. Here the delivery takes place as natural as possible, and that is a good thing. In Mexico you plan a c-section, so you know exactly when you are going to give birth. That seems convenient and less of a hassle, but the woman needs much time to recover from the operation, compared to natural birth. Everything went well during delivery in the Catharina hospital, also thanks to the fact everybody was able to communicate in English with us.”

Francisco and his wife also had to find out what to do with all the paperwork after their daughter was born. “It is such a relief when the hospital and health insurance take care of all the financial stuff when it comes to a hospital stay. The last thing you want is to be bothered with all kinds of bills and forms. When we got home, we had to get used to having the help of a nurse for a week. In Mexico, the family helps around the house and with the baby. We were not used to having someone around who also makes the bed and cleans up, next to help with the care for the baby. One thing that didn’t go as planned was naming our daughter. In Mexico, it is common to have the last names of both parents. Here that is not allowed.” In a couple of weeks, Francisco and his family will fly to Mexico. “Oh boy, it’s our first time to take the baby with us on an eleven-hour flight. We have to prepare a bit more, compared to when it was just the both of us.”

This year Francisco passed his citizenship test and officially became Dutch. “After eight years in the Netherlands, I thought it was time to also obtain the Dutch nationality. Having a Dutch passport makes my life a bit easier when it comes to travelling. I also see it as an investment for our daughter. She also has a Dutch passport and it will give her more opportunities in the future. When Iook at Eindhoven,  I see the good changes that go together with  the increasing internationalization. What is life going be like for my daughter here, not looking Dutch? I’m very curious about how that will turn out.”

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