Interview with an expat: Katarina Szilagyi

About Katarina Szilagyi
 Medical researcher
 Kosice, Eastern Slovakia

When did you come to Holland?
I came here in September, 2009. In fact, I had already stayed in the Netherlands for 3 months back in 2007 for an Erasmus project at the Vrije University - my very first contact with Dutch society and science!

In Holland, there are many well-known medical institutions, with the most prestigious ones located in Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Dutch science institutes enjoy a very high reputation and this attracts people from all over the world, including me!

Can you tell us more about your job?
In Dutch, it is called "Onderzoeker in Opleiding," which is a combination of PhD (academic research) and a normal job. At the end of the project, I can choose to work for a (pharmaceutical) company or follow an academic career.

More specifically, I work on a disease known as atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of death (strokes, heart attacks etc.) in Western Society. I can only take small steps towards a cure, but the idea to be able to improve people’s health is.. the ambition of every researcher!

What about "science?"
Science is a learning process that requires continuous training. You have to think out of the box, work hard and (maybe) see results 5 years later. Science is based on the knowledge we have today and you have to formulate hypotheses, which are likely to change tomorrow. So, you have to question yourself all the time and of course, not confuse what it is and what you want to see.

Do you speak Dutch?
I use English at work because we are an international research group but I am learning Dutch because I live here and I think it is "polite" to learn the language, especially if you plan to stay. Besides, if you speak the local language, more doors will open for you!

What do you think of the Dutch?
I learnt that people can be direct and that can make one’s life easier. The Dutch are not "cold" people; they are direct and in fact, they give you plenty of space to to think and decide. I also like the fact that they plan ahead..

What about the internationals who live here?
There are those who like the country and those who stay only for their work and do not share the local values. In any case, I love Amsterdam because here, people are free to live the way they want and, at the same time, have plenty of opportunities.

Agnese enjoys interviewing people with a story to tell, a project to unfold, a dream to share… always with an amazing bottle of wine selected for the occasion.

For Katarina, an elegant flowery white wine - a vinho verde from Portugal to say goodbye to summertime - was chosen: Camelia, Loureiro Puro, Vinho Verde DOC 2009, Mosteiro De Santa Maria de Landim, Portugal.

This wine comes from Camellia flower garden, a 19th century Monastery. It has a touch of elegance, sophisticated body, and a fresh light nose.

Agnese also organises The Wine Set, a tasty experience with a selection of the best wines mixed with great music! Learn more about the next one.

Agnese Roda


Agnese Roda

The taste of being abroad.

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