Published on: 28 May 2018
Written by: Ilse Akkermans
First off, can you introduce yourself to the ones that don’t know you?
Hi CognAC’ers, I am Luis. I come from Mexico and I am studying in the first year of AI.
So Luis, you’re from Mexico, but where from in Mexico, as it is a big country?
I come from a city very close to Monterrey.
(I had to use Google Maps, but it is in the North-East of Mexico. Sorry, I didn’t study topography for 4 years or so.)
It is one of the biggest cities in Mexico. Which is around 6 hours from the Texas border.
Talking about your hometown, what do you think is the main difference between Nijmegen and your hometown?
That’s a good question, there are many differences, but the main difference would be the green.
You mean, “plants green”?
Yes, because, here it is like the ‘green city’ and there I am in the desert. There’s not so much green. The first time I came here I was like: “okay, first off all this is really flat” and then the second was the green. Everything’s green.
Besides from the green and the flat land you noticed when you came here, what stood out to you about the people?
Well, there were several impressions, but just the normal I guess. Like: “wow, these people are really white”. And: “ wow, these people are tall”. In Mexico I was tall, I am 170 something, about 177 cm. I was tall… and then I came here and I am average or below average. But that’s cool. Furthermore, the people are super-friendly I think. Probably because it is a small country.
Really? Because they often say the Dutch are very straight-forward and that can come across as kind of harsh.
That’s true, I haven’t really felt it, but yes sometimes they are. I was in a workgroup with Dutch and international students and there was this coffee machine. So the Dutch guy and I went to the coffee machine and I asked ‘is this coffee machine working? ‘. And he said ‘ I don’t know, are you working? ‘. I don’t know , maybe this is some kind of Dutch thing. It was fun, even though it is uncomfortably fun.
You moved here this year, are there any tips you would want to give to future foreign first-years?
Join the study association, it is super good. But it is also important to make good use of the study advisor. She is really good and she gives good advice.
This summer, will you go home?
I think I will not go this summer. I have a friend coming this summer, my neighbour actually, and we were thinking of renting a car and traveling a little bit. Because this is my first time in Europe you know, I still have a lot to see.
(Sigur joins us at the table we’re sitting at in DE café.)
What is your place to be in Nijmegen?
The sports centre it is super good, it has so many sports. I am surprised I don’t see so many CognAC’ers there.
You don’t? I do, I saw Sigur there once.
(directed at Sigur) I saw you at the sports centre
Yes! we were there for like 3 hours, or 4.
About the programm: what is your favourite subject?
Now we’re getting to the more interesting questions.
I think the most interesting...
(It remains silent for a few minutes. )
You don’t like any subject?
No, no , I found it interesting , but I cannot explain why. I think, formal reasoning was my favourite. And about programming: I took one semester of programming in Mexico, it was in C#, we covered from the very start to arrays in one semester and that was just the first three weeks of java here. So then I realised we went very fast .
Did that pose a problem to you?
No, I think the program is very well designed so it should not be a problem. And besides there is CognAC, the study association , they can always help you.
What made you eventually join the study association, because you said you didn’t join CognAC in the first place?
Eventually, I thought , these events are really cool, I have to participate in those. Because they have the pooling coming up and a hitchhiking competition also. It was a matter of time I would join.
What made you decide to come to Nijmegen, it’s probably not the most nearby AI- program?
There are no AI- programmes nearby. I think you can find similar courses. Maybe if you do a program in computer science in Mexico and you fill it with some courses with statistics and all of that, but there is not an AI-program. The closest is in the US. When I checked there were multiple AI-programmes in the Netherlands and in the UK and that's about it.
(We chat about different universities in the Netherlands and the island of Groningen and then Luis decides to turn the interview around)
Where are you from?
I am from Rosmalen, that’s a town in the South of the Netherlands.
Where is that?
30 minutes from here.
So like in the Tilburg provence.
Tilburg, it is in that provence! (Luis did study his topography, in contrast to me)
How do you know Tilburg?
You just know?
I haven’t been to Tilburg myself, but I have been very close I think. You have Breda, I know Breda is in the North but very close to Tilburg. I just know Tilburg is somewhere in the South.
(Impressed by his pronunciation of those Dutch cities I decide to ask him for his Dutch-speaking capacities.) Do you know some Dutch words yet? You said ‘hoi’ when we started
I know some words, but they just come, I cannot make a sentence yet. But whenever the grandma at the supermarket is behind me and telling me stuff I really want to know what she is saying.
Are you planning on learning Dutch?
Yes, this summer I am taking a course, I have been planning on it but I did not have time yet.
Can you teach us a sentence in your language?
How do you say this? I am already forgetting Spanish.
“Una de pastor, por favor”.
What does that mean?
Every Mexican knows that’s how you ask the waiter for your tacos.
Learning the most important words here. Are there any last things you would like to share ?
I think that’s it
No shout out? Everyone does shoutouts so I think we can do it here.
Okay, I don’t know if he can see it but I want to make a shoutout to Norbert Laskowski.