Behind the scenes with Gabriela

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Behind the scenes

Gaining international experiences while studying or following an internship is a source of immense value to students. It can be kind of nerve-racking crossing international borders for the first time, but for many it’s an unforgettable adventure. So how are international students enjoying their time in Enschede? This time we will go behind the scenes with Gabriela, a fourth-year student of Fashion & Textile Technologies at Saxion.


Where do you come from and why did you come to study in Enschede?

I come from Mexico City and have now lived 3.5 years in Enschede. I ended up coming here through a Nuffic scholarship. I would really love to contribute to research into new and sustainable materials for the textile and fashion world in the future. It turns out that the course of study that really suits me best is in Enschede.

What was it like to move all the way from Mexico City to Enschede?

Mexico City and Enschede are two completely different cities. Mexico City is a massive metropolis with all the benefits that that entails. Enschede is a lot smaller, but that also makes it friendlier; it almost feels like a large village. The great thing about Enschede to me is that I feel safer here when I go out at night than I do in Mexico City. I love to dance and I’ve discovered some great venues in Enschede. There’s also a lot more nature and you can go anywhere on a bike!

What are the most notable cultural differences you’ve experienced?

Mexico is a warm country: we are very open and it’s like the entire neighbourhood eats dinner with us, so to say. Here everyone is very friendly and helpful, but they are slightly more reserved than in my culture. And everyone here is very direct! At home, you rarely say no to an invitation, but here people just state directly if they don’t want to or can’t come.

During your studies you wrote a children’s book about sustainable clothing – in Dutch! Could you tell us a little bit about that?

During the ‘Talent Development’ course, I combined skills that I’m keen to develop – the Dutch language and graphic design – with my passion: making the textile industry more sustainable. So I wrote and designed a children's book in Dutch. It’s about how to deal with clothing in a more sustainable way. Children still look at the world with an open mind. And if we can help them gain greater awareness of how to use clothing more sustainably, then hopefully they’ll do that for the rest of their lives.

Do you have any tips for other international students in Enschede or people looking to take that step across international borders?

Just do it! There’s a lot to do in Enschede for international students. Just step out of your comfort zone and go along to the informal get-togethers and events that the school organises. During my studies here I’ve made a number of international and Dutch friends.

Are you planning to stay in Enschede when you graduate?

I’d love to stay in the Netherlands. That’s why I’m looking for a job with an international company. Maybe I’ll be able to stay with the company where I’m doing my internship. So far, I’ve seen that companies often choose a Dutch student instead of an international student when filling internship places. They speak the lingo and are of course more likely to stay here. But once companies find out how hard I work and what I’m capable of, they actually ask me to ‘stay longer!’. International students tend to work very hard and are highly motivated. It was no accident that I moved halfway across the world to study: I’m chasing my dream.