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: Irene Stracuzzi
Country of origin: Italy
Work: Graphic Designer at George&Harrison

We meet Irene at her work: the studio of George&Harrison at Strijp R. With coffee we get comfortable on the couch and kick off with the question on how Irene ended up in the Netherlands: “I did a bachelor in product design in Torino and after I finished it I wanted to do a master in Europe. Joost Grootens already was a teacher at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and I really wanted to work with him. I was a fan of his work. Without ever visiting Eindhoven, I applied for the master Information Design. I send in my portfolio for a review and I had an interview via Skype. I was quite nervous for the interview. It was my first time to have a conversation in English on a professional level. And it was such an important interview for me. But I  got through it and got accepted to the academy.”

“Two weeks before my master started I arrived in Eindhoven. I was shocked. I had been to Amsterdam before, so I kind of expected something similar. It took quite some time to get used to the city. It grew on me and now I like it. The study itself was different than I was used to in Italy. There the teacher teaches a class, you as a student make notes and after the course, you get a written exam. Here the teachers were more like mentors. Through their advice I learned how to develop my own personality as a designer, working with what I want to say in mind. Not what the target group wants, as I had been taught in Italy. In my opinion, this more artistic approach makes me a better designer. I want to tell a story and say something new.”

“At the Design Academy Eindhoven I learned how to develop my own personality as a designer”Irene Stracuzzi, Graphic Designer

“I graduated last June and in October I participated in the academy’s graduation show. You have to know that the bachelor students are more focused on delivering a finished project for their graduation and the master is more about research with a thesis and a concept. The graduation show is intense. It’s crowded and people ask all kinds of questions. Also stupid ones,” Irene laughs, “But fortunately I met a lot of people who were interested in my thesis. It is nice when people appreciate your research. After my graduation, I decided to stay in Eindhoven. I like the atmosphere here and the way design is approached here. Today I know a lot of nice spots and appreciate the city more.”

A few months after graduation Irene applied at the Eindhoven based design studio George&Harrison. ”I was looking for a job at a not too big design studio and I think George&Harrison is in that category the best. I was very happy that I could start here as a graphic designer last December. My focus is on print design and currently, I’m working on the design of a book. But I also get to change to broaden my set of skills by working on web design and branding. The team gives me the confidence to work on various assignments. During my masters, I was surrounded by only female co-students. Here my co-workers are all men. But that is not an issue. Everybody works well together.”

“In my spare time I like to visit the Karpendonkse Plas (a lake close to the university) and have a walk there. I come from an area with a lot of lakes. Despite it’s different, it reminds me of home. I also like the Van Abbemuseum and I like to travel through the Netherlands. I visited a lot of places already and want to get to know the north of the country better. I started travelling around the Netherlands to discover other places besides Eindhoven. A friend of mine lives in Amsterdam and almost never leaves the city. There is more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam. When I’m in Italy I miss biking around and when I’m back in Eindhoven I have to get used to it all over again. And when I’m in the Netherlands I miss Italian food and the mountains. I can get a lot of food here, but sometimes I miss some specific ingredients.”

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