Today we have interviewed Rodrigo, a young Mexican guy who decided to move to Europe after his bachelor in Mexico. Rodrigo is really open minded and easy-going, he loves to travel as much as he can and get in touch with new people, especially with European students. According to his first impressions about living in the Netherlands, we might say «so far so good».
Hello Rodrigo! Tell us something about yourself, please.
Well, my name is Rodrigo and I am Mexican, which is one of the first things that people should know, I guess. I am currently studying in Tilburg, NL, doing a master’s in Communication, but right now I am doing an internship in Amsterdam, which is pretty cool.
Why did you choose the Netherlands?
Because it’s the gateway to Europe, it has one of the best education systems in the world, also the fact that ninety percent of the people here in the Netherlands speak English helps a lot.
Describe your life in the Netherlands.
As I said before I am a student, in a normal day I go to class, after that to the library to study, trying to catch up with the deadlines. I always try do to as much as possible because you have to get it together if you want to pass the course, which means that there are hectic periods when you have several deadlines and all of them need to be done in a very short time. As regards social life, in the beginning it was difficult to socialize and go out because of the deadlines and group projects, but working together was the first step towards having a proper social life. Now that I have my own group of friends it’s easy to go out and enjoy our free-time. Our favourite spot is Kandinsky, a great pub in Tilburg where you can get several different types of beer, which is perfect to warm up before getting to the city centre and going dancing in some clubs.
How is living in the Netherlands different than living in your country?
I’d say there are few differences. Of course here I’ve started to enjoy sunny days as I have never done before, because in Mexico it’s always sunny, while here you definitely appreciate the sun, especially after some rainy days. Another difference regards the food – I have not missed Mexican food that much, I guess because here there are other delicious products like frikandel (a Dutch and Belgian snack, a sort of minced-meat hot dog – editor’s note) kassouflet (cheese croquettes, editor’s note), croquettes, kip corn (chicken nuggets, editor’s note). Also, people here are more open and direct with their feelings, while in Mexico they tend not to be so straight-forward… At the beginning this was quite a difference for me, something I had to get used to, especially when I started working with international people.
Which is the biggest challenge of moving to a new country? Have you had any regrets so far? What do you miss the most?
The biggest challenge in my opinion is leaving everything you have behind you, friends and family, and starting everything from scratch . I cannot say I have any regrets, I would say that now I have done the right choice but at first I was hesitant about deciding to live far away from home. The thing that I miss the most from my country is my family, I was used to talk with them everyday and, even if today technology allows us to communicate everywhere and at any time, it’s not the same as having a real contact with the person you are talking to.
Especially in this particularly tough moment, what do you thing the meaning of Europe is? Do you perceive the existence of Europe as a community? If you were born here would you feel part of it?
I was used to a completely different world – probably if you ask a Greek student or a Spanish one, who have actually been living the European issue, you might get a better answer. What I am trying to say is that they experienced that situation and they are able to tell you more, and that is really fascinating. I feel that nowadays Europe is a little bit puzzled, given the recent events which are forcing Europe to be divided or more cohesive. Of course, if I were born here I would perceive myself as part of a multicultural community, therefore European .
Would you suggest your Mexican fellow students to have an experience like yours in Europe? If yes, why ?
I would one hundred percent suggest them to do it, there will be no regrets of doing such a choice, it’s a challenging one but it opens your mind and broaden also your job opportunities – thanks to an international environment you can experience more, get in touch with several people and enlarge your network.
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