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: Marisol Velasco Montanez
Country of origin: Mexico
Study: PhD student Industrial Engineering at Eindhoven Technical University
When we enter the Innovation Space on the TU/e campus, it is buzzing with people. Downstairs a group attends a course, upstairs groups of students discus a project and in a separate room people work quietly. Marisol is connected to the Innovation Space for her PhD: “This is my client company where I do my research. There is always something happening here and people from different departments work together. I meet new people constantly.” Students can take courses here, or organise presentations or build prototypes for the student teams’ projects. “Everybody is very motivated, that gives a lot of energy.”
Marisol studied in Mexico and worked for a Coca-Cola bottling company, a company that was part of a bigger group. “I got the opportunity to set up an innovation project with the government, academia and the company. In this project, I was pioneering with a team. I got inspired to learn more about innovation and decided I wanted to do an innovation management master. I did research for a year on where I wanted to go. I was looking for a study program where start-ups and big companies work together. That is hard to find. I found two options for the master: here and in Denmark. I chose the TU/e for the program and the location and I got in.”
“I arrived in winter. I wouldn’t recommend anyone starting a study in the middle of the academic year. It comes with a lot of inconveniences you don’t come across when you start in September. In the beginning, I felt alone. Starting a social life was quite difficult because I didn’t have an introduction week so I didn’t know a lot of people. I tried to connect with Dutch students, but that took a lot of time. Eventually, I could connect with Dutch people who previously studied in other countries, they understood me. I tried to go to some events, but can be challenging by yourself. When I got involved with Innovation Space, my social life exploded.”
“I wouldn’t recommend anyone starting a study in the middle of the academic year. It comes with all kinds of inconveniences”Marisol Velasco Montanez, PhD student Industrial Engineering
“The most stressful thing that happened to me while I was here, had to do with my tuition. My scholarship covered two years, from February 2015 until February 2017. But Dutch law says you have to pay a full year of tuition, and if you graduate in February, the university will refund half of the money for that year. You need to know that we as non-EU students pay a lot more than Dutch or EU-students. I didn’t have that kind of money. So my two-year study, would cost a two and a half year tuition. I didn´t know this in advance. Somebody helped me with figuring everything out. To me, this is a system flaw.”
“Things like the situation with my tuition happened more often. Like when I got a letter stating I didn’t earn enough study credits to pursue my study in the second year and that I couldn’t live in the country anymore because of it. At first, I got all stressed out when something like that would happen, but this time I just called the authority that sent the letter and asked questions, because I knew something didn’t add up. It turned out the rule about the credits didn’t apply for me because I started in February. Annoying these things happen, but I learned to be a bit more pragmatic and that people here listen and are very logical. They really make use of ‘common sense’, so everything can be discussed and arranged. I love that. After all, ‘common sense’ is not as common as it seems.”
“In my spare time, I like to go to Natlab with friends. I also love Down Town Gourmet Market. They have really good food and the atmosphere is very nice. And I also like Strijp S a lot. I’m drawn to it. Many different events are hosted in the area like the super cosy Feel Good Market, but also hard rock shows. When I walked home a few months ago, I saw gothic looking guys. I thought: ‘What’s happening here?’ Turned out there was a Marilyn Manson concert in the Klokgebouw.” And what are Marisol’s plans for the future? “I don’t know what I want: stay here or not. I really like Eindhoven, and I felt like coming home after visiting Mexico. I am learning Dutch, so if I decide to stay, I know the language a bit. The biggest challenge when it comes to Dutch is the pronunciation of words. But I’m learning, and here at the Innovation Space, I learn also by listening.”
Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel
Innovation Origins is an independent news platform, which has an unconventional revenue model. We are sponsored by companies that support our mission: spreading the story of innovation. Read more here.
On Innovation Origins you can always read articles for free. We want to keep it that way. Have you enjoyed this article so much that you want to contribute to independent journalism? Click here: