Meilivia – ‘So therefore I knew that this was the place to be for a good education’

Name: Meilivia Angelicka
Country: Indonesia
Study: Industrial Engineering
Location:  Fontys Hogescholen Eindhoven

How did you come across this study at this location?
“I applied for an international scholarship and for that I wrote about the interesting companies and job opportunities in Brabant, especially in Brainport. So therefore I knew that this was the place to be for a good education and career in my field of interest. I chose Fontys Hogescholen because they offer help with internships and that makes it easy to connect my study to the practice.”

How did you prepare for your international move to Brabant?
“I didn’t prepare a lot, to be honest. In Indonesia I attended a boarding school, so I was used to being away from home for a long time. The transition to an independent life wasn’t that different for me. And Fontys Hogescholen has an agent in Indonesia to help international students with all the practical preparations, even applying for a visa. So that was quite easy as well. Actually, the most difficult thing to adjust to here is the Dutch weather.”

What are your plans after graduation? Will you stay in this area?
“I want to gain at least two years of working experience here. I want to work for a company that has firms here as well as in Indonesia. So my dream job would be with a big international company like Unilever or Philips. Eventually I will return to Indonesia, because I promised my parents I would come back. But I think it’s better to start working in the Netherlands, since the facilities are better here and there are clear rules about taxes. I find the working system here more efficient and transparent. And I like the open office culture. Boss and employee are more equal; you can give your opinion regardless your status. By working here for the first years, I will become stronger to face the challenges in Indonesia, for instance concerning corruption.”

Which factor is leading in choosing your first job in the Netherlands?
“For me, the company is more important than the location. This country is quite small, so commuting is no problem. Lots of people I know live in Brabant but work in the Randstad and they find it very manageable.”

So you would like to keep on living in Brabant, regardless where you end up working?
“Yes. I like the region and the central location. You can go almost everywhere in the country from here and it will never take more than three hours. I also like the city of Eindhoven, where I live. It’s not too crowded, but still an interesting globalising city. And the inhabitants are very friendly. A friend of mine, who studies in Japan, came to visit me a while ago and he was so enthusiastic that he also wants to move here. He felt very accepted as a Muslim and not so much in Japan. So he is seriously planning to find a study here when his Japanese one is done.”

What advice would you give other international students who want to come here?
“The main thing is to be aware of the difference between universities, that are more focused on research, and ‘hogescholen’, that are more focused on practice. Most other countries don’t have that difference, so most people aren’t used to it.

Any points of improvement?
“Everything closes at the end of the afternoon, where in Indonesia we have a 24-hour economy. I found that to be the main problem for me to get used to. Also, the public transportation is quite expensive. And schools could improve integration, for instance offer more Dutch courses. And why do international and local students have separate classes? That’s a pity, because it makes it harder to get Dutch contacts. Oh, one more thing; make it possible for international students to work more than ten hours a week beside their study. It’s hard to earn extra money to spend on social activities.”

What is the most remarkable, typical Dutch phenomenon you experienced?
“Carnaval and eating haring. Not because it’s raw fish, since I love eating sushi, but because it’s not very attractively presented. You can see all the fishy features and the way you eat it is also a bit weird.”