International experience interview
Who are you, where are you from and what is your educational background before coming to the Netherlands?
My name is Taha Tajerian and I come from Iran. Before I came to the Netherlands, I got my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. I did work for a large enterprise in my home country. The main activity of the company was about economic activities. Therefore, I decided to invest more in economics and continue my education in this regard.
Why did you choose the Netherlands as your next country to live in and for educational purposes?
The reason that I chose the Netherlands was the positive feedback I received from both my friends and sibling. My sister studied Nano Physics in TU\e and she is a PhD candidate. Also, my friend, he studied mechanical engineering and he got his PhD in this field. Therefore, I have a decent piece of experience about the Dutch culture, educational system, and its universities. Besides, I already knew that communication and talking are important for Dutch people and if I can do it well, in most cases I can have decent outcomes.
Did you face any obstacles with coming to the Netherlands, with living here or with your education?
About the obstacles, I have not been faced with serious difficulties, thanks to the information that I have had and my friends’ experiences. The only challenge that I had faced was writing an essay. Thanks to the Writing skills course, which was presented to me by TISEM, I overcame that challenge.
Was it complicated to move to the Netherlands? Did you get any assistance?
The answer is no for me. I decided to apply for IBA since I knew exactly what direction I wanted to go in regarding my education. When I was admitted, the administration office sent me an email about the following procedures. The steps were clear and easy to follow. I took the steps and then I could go to Tilburg University.
Have you been able to make some friends and contacts here?
Yes, I have several good friends and we are still in contact with each other. If everything goes well because of the crisis, we have a plan to meet each other for the summer break.
Did you actively try to participate in the extracurricular activities that our university has to offer?
“From the beginning, I have tried to participate in most of the activities which assist me to get more information about Dutch culture and Dutch students.”
Therefore, I have become an active member at Asset | IB&M to participate in most of its activities. Recently, I applied to become the MAK board member, but I have a place in Eindhoven, so I was not able to do this.
Was it complicated to adapt to the Dutch culture in comparison to the culture of Iran?
The answer to the former question is negative for me, but it is undeniable that some challenges do exist. Since I think I am good at communication and making new connections and as I said before, Dutch people are also open to talking and negotiation, I have not faced a serious problem so far.
Could you also tell me something about the Iranian culture?
Iran is considered as one of the foundations of civilization and due to its dominant geo-political position and culture, Iran has heavily influenced cultures and peoples as far away as Italy. Also, traditions are important for the Iranian people. Hospitality is one of the main traditions that are important for Iranian people. When we invite someone to our home(place), we will try to do our best to welcome our guest(s) kindly with open arms. Also, giving a gift is another tradition that we respect. If we are invited to someone, we will bring a bouquet of flowers, a box of candy, or special gifts (such as special handcraft, Zaffron, or a specific item). Of course, it depends on how close the relationship is with the host. Overall, Iran has a rich history and culture that have had a significant impact on the world through art, architecture, poetry, medicine, etc. Yet, I will keep it short and not mention them all.
After your studies, do you have any plans? Would you like to work in another country?
I have a concrete plan for my study and graduation. As you know, I have finished the first year and the upcoming year is my second year. This academic year I want to find a decent company for my internship to gain more knowledge about working culture with Dutch people. Also, after my graduation, I will find a job here in the Netherlands and work for a couple of years to implement what I have learned from both university and the internship.
If someone was coming from another country to the Netherlands or Tilburg university in specific, what advice would you give them?
I will advise them to follow their study very well. They must not feel shy and participate as much as they can in the events (informal and formal) that are provided by the associations like ASSET.