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: Nora Bujdoso
Country of origin: Hungary
Work: Business controller for the south of the Netherlands at Strukton Worksphere

We are invited to the workplace of Nora, an office at the Science Park in Son, close to Eindhoven. We agreed on meeting at nine o’clock and it is quite busy in the hallway, with all kinds of visitors. Fortunately, Nora has notified her colleagues at the front desk in advance about us and we only have to wait for a little while. After a few minutes, Nora comes down the stairs and welcomes us warmly. We go to her office. “My day started with a difficult problem that we have to solve with the team, so I will immediately start working on it after our conversation.” We promise that we will pick up the pace. “I have been working here since 1 September and I really like it. I have work experience in different sectors; from working at factories to mail order company Wehkamp and I really enjoy to get to know a new sector at Strukton. I like to broaden my horizon.”

It is clear that Nora likes to focus on her work: “I want to be intellectually challenged. At the moment it is important to me that I can combine my work and my family well. My husband and I have three children in the elementary school age and I want to see them too. In my current job, I am being challenged and I spend enough time with my family. If I would work at a higher level, that would no longer be an option. I think the school system in the Netherlands does ask a lot of the parents; helping in class, go on field trips, tinkering on assignments at home. In Hungary, the children go to school until five o’clock in the afternoon. They have breakfast there and get snacks and a warm meal in the afternoon. If you pick them up, they have eaten and played sports and you don’t need to do all kinds of stuff anymore. I am also not surprised at the high number of women’s burnouts here. You have to be present everywhere and think about everything. And I have all of that three times. Fortunately, we know how to plan all of it well.”

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Nora is married to a Dutchman and together they want to let their children experience as much of the Dutch and Hungarian culture as possible. Her husband and children have for that reason even lived in Hungary for a while, while Nora continued to work in the Netherlands and regularly travelled to her family. “I noticed that my children hardly spoke Hungarian, at school and the daycare they spoke Dutch and I also spoke Dutch more and more to them. When it turned out that they could not understand their own grandparents, I wanted to do something about it. My husband saw how important that was for me. He lived with the children for over a year in Hungary, where he also worked. Every quarter we looked at how things went. Central in this was how the children felt there. It was a priceless experience because they had a great time and now my husband also speaks my language. He also understands better where I come from. Now that we are here again, the children miss Hungary. We try to go there as often as possible.”

“The first four years that I was here, I thought everything was better in Hungary. After that, I started to see that there are good things here. I find it striking how the Netherlands deals with the winter. From November 11 you will do everything to make the winter pleasant and cosy. I continue to find it confusing being around Dutch people. You are so open and friendly, but that’s until five o’clock because then you go home. You do not get in quickly with Dutch people. Even though they are interested in you they do not plan anything that quickly with you. But if they invite you for their birthday, then you are one step further. We are friends with many families with two cultures, that is just a little easier. I find the experience of multiple cultures an advantage because you learn to appreciate the good things of each country. It enlarges your view of the world.”

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

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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.