Last updated 4 months ago by Michael Darmanin
A different kind of interview today, for as well as being an Indian in Utrecht, Smera is also the newest recruit to UtrechtCentral, so this really does kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
Smera is from Bangalore city, the capital of Karnataka state in South India. It used to be called the Garden City of India, now it’s called the Silicon Valley of India. she was born and raised there. As a person Smera is bubbly and sensitive to the subtleties of human interactions and likes to study how emotions play the biggest role in them.
She completed her MBA in Finance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA, interned with Disney World for half a year and then started her career in the IT industry as a business analyst 8 years ago. She has always been passionate about writing and thinks this comes from her mom who is a writer too and a Professor of English in India. Smera has written a few articles and poetry for magazines in India. In parallel to writing and her full time job, Smera also wishes to start off as an entrepreneur by being a Life and Business Transformation Coach.
What brought you to Utrecht?
I have been working with Nike through my parent company from India for about six months now. My boss gave me the opportunity to take his position as a Project Lead, while he moved up to an engagement level role. I arrived about two weeks ago in The Netherlands and live in Hilversum. Since Utrecht is very close to Hilversum, I visit often.
Where is your favourite place in Utrecht?
I enjoy sitting on the open air benches on Catherijnekade street and watching the Canal. It helps me clear my mind.
Does Utrecht inspire you?
The city excites me and inspires me to be creative. It’s a small yet lively city, especially the centre of Utrecht.
What would be a perfect day in Utrecht for you?
A warm, sunny day when I can cycle around the city and eat some delicious Dutch food at one of the cozy restaurants in the centre of Utrecht accompanied by some good friends! I would love to try some good bars too. I haven’t been to any so far.
What is the main difference between the Indians and the Dutch?
They are much taller than the Indians! Well the Dutch are the tallest people in the world after all.
Do you miss anything about India?
I miss my mom, her delicious food and my cozy home. I like the Netherlands and I think if my mom were to visit or live here with me, it would feel like home.
Do you think there is a Dutch way of life?
In the two weeks that I’ve been here, one thing that stands out is the cycling culture! I’ve never seen so many cyclists anywhere else!
Do you think you fit in to the Dutch way of life?
I just bought a cycle last week, I think I fit right in!
Do you know many Indian expats in Utrecht or do you make friends with the Dutch?
I have joined the expats groups in Utrecht on Facebook so it has helped me connect with people from India, UK and other parts of Europe as well. Most of my colleagues are Dutch so I could say I’ve made some Dutch friends too!
Do you think the Dutch could learn anything from the Indians?
Taking tea or coffee breaks in-between work! It’s part of the Indian work culture to take a tea or coffee break with your friends and colleagues in the late afternoons.
Will you be staying in the Netherlands?
I have a long term work visa and I plan to stay at least for a year, if not more.