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We love coming home to our "schippershuisje" after a day at work

Pablo García Barrena

Spain, Denmark and now the Netherlands. Pablo (28) goes with the flow. Finding a job didn’t go without saying after he graduated as a master in Naval Architecture in Madrid. Only until a ship design and engineering company in Leek gave him the opportunity to kick-start his career. He’s now living with his Belgian girlfriend and experiencing the Dutch way of life. “It’s incredible to see where life takes you.”

“My first impression of Groningen was mostly peculiar. I was invited for a job interview in Leek, a place that I’d never heard of before. I took the first train from Belgium that I could find and slept in a shared room in a hostel in Groningen. I didn’t get a lot of sleep because I had some snory and smelly roommates, but at the end the interview went great! Now I’m still here, one year later.”

Studenten Grote markt Groningen has a nice combination of a vibrant centre and more peaceful hang-out spots

Pablo and his girlfriend recently moved to the Oosterpoortbuurt and love it there. “It is such a friendly neighbourhood to live. We feel very lucky that we found a typical small Dutch “schippershuisje” so close to the city centre. We love coming home after a day at work.”

“At the office I am the only international and that can be a little intense sometimes. I miss the insider jokes and sometimes feel lost in a Dutch conversation. Luckily, I do feel that my co-workers appreciate my ideas. There’s a healthy workplace environment without a clear hierarchy. Everyone’s on the same level. My bosses will always be open for suggestions and new ideas. That’s quite different to what I was used to. Here, I’m not only a newly graduate. I can give input and ideas.”

Did you know? Pablo's company just designed the first fully electric tanker in the world!

All in all, Pablo feels happy in Groningen. “Groningen has a nice combination of a vibrant centre and more peaceful hang-out spots. It’s easy to get away from the lively city and enjoy the sun while biking through the province’s fields. I’d love to see some more events and bars for people my age though. Hopefully, that changes in the future!”