25 February 2021
Mark Johnson, the man of hundreds of patents: "There is no training to become an inventor"
My name is Massimiliano and I am from Milan, Italy. Currently, I am a student in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, and I also work as a research assistant within the department. I love art, culture, society and technology.
My decision for studying in The Netherlands was not the usual. It was fast and ‘blind’, as I decided only a couple months before the beginning of the academic year to move to Tilburg and start my academic career here. In the spring of 2017, I was living and working in South Africa, where I met several people who were very positive about studying in The Netherlands. They gave me the advice to consider it because of its academic and jobs prospects.
To be honest, there was no specific reason why I chose to study at Tilburg University and not somewhere else in The Netherlands. While checking out different programs, I found that this university was offering the program which I am currently enrolled in and which turned out to be great for me. My choice was not deeply motivated but was mainly based on curiosity. Now, after being here for two years, many aspects of this university confirm my choice back then, such as the green, compact campus, the emphasis on the importance of society in all fields of study and the careful attention towards students’ satisfaction. If I had known them before-hand, they would have definitely pushed me to choose Tilburg University.
I am an ambassador of my university, and therefore I am often in the position to explain why and how I like being a student here. Well, the reasons are multifold, but I can pick a few important ones that I believe are important to mention. First, as said before, Tilburg University really does care about the feedback given by the students and personnel and effectively uses these to create and develop a more dynamic, interdisciplinary and international environment. Second, the emphasis here is placed on practical projects that test the theoretical constructs of a given subject learned in lectures, which is very different to universities in my home country. Also, there are often guest lectures, which I believe are a great way to share knowledge and foster an interdisciplinary and curious environment. Moreover, studying in The Netherlands often provides opportunities to get involved in academia or industries through internships and programs that are aimed to help you start your professional career.
"Tilburg University really does care about the feedback given by the students and personnel and effectively uses these to create and develop a more dynamic, interdisciplinary and international environment"
Coming from a big city, I have to say that living in Brabant was quite a big change. Overall, it is a more quiet region than at home, but at the same time it is full of innovation and international presence. It takes some time to realize it, but the region has a lot to offer, especially economic and business prospects for young people. This is what I believe makes this region a fertile ground for young professionals that want to make a change in the world and contribute to a better society. Furthermore, it is very well connected to the neighbouring regions (Belgium and Germany) as well as to the rest of The Netherlands and its most important cultural and economic centres.
"It takes some time to realize it, but the region has a lot to offer, especially economic and business prospects for young people. This is what I believe makes this region a fertile ground for young professionals that want to make a change in the world and contribute to a better society."
Last year, in 2018, I had the opportunity to work for a start-up company in the Strijp-S area of Eindhoven. This is a beautiful part of the city. It is an area where you certainly perceive the dynamism and innovation that characterize the region. I was especially taken by the enterprising and straightforward attitude of my employers and colleagues, which I really appreciated. In general, I am often surprised by this type of attitude in The Netherlands. It seems that people simply tend to share this attitude in and outside the academic or workplaces. I believe this is one of the main driving forces behind the many opportunities for young people.
A piece of advice that I believe is always valuable, is to have a positive and curious attitude towards the environment one finds his/herself in. Sometimes environments might make it difficult to keep that attitude, but that is not the case here.
"The Netherlands is for sure one of those countries where one feels motivated to work well, be efficient and, most importantly, be happy and satisfied with whatever he/she does. This is how I perceive life here, from the perspective of a foreign student and young professional in this country."