I loved the international interaction during SET. I was impressed by the adaptive abilities of my international friends in that structured, efficient and cold country called The Netherlands. Their struggles inspired me to do something similar; living in another country with a culture diametrically opposed to mine. Since my interest in India was already sparked by my Indian friends, it didn’t take long to figure out the subcontinent fitted best.
Using my network I got a job offer at Rural Spark. A Dutch company creating smart grids for rural India. The grid in India is highly unreliable or unavailable for remote parts. So Rural Sparks enables village entrepreneurs with renewable energy options to have access to energy. As Business Manager I look in the operations, logistic processes, team coaching, sales and maintaining relationships with the off-grid sector. For me this is the perfect starting point since it gives me room to explore what I like to do and what I am good at while I am understanding, experiencing and integrating in an alien country. I like the cultural component a lot, and I think it is an opportunity to be able to communicate and work with cultural-diverse teams.
For the SET students, I strongly recommend to dive into the tremendous amount of culture your fellow students have to offer, especially the Dutch students. I felt enriched by taking parts of different cultural events, creating long lasting friendships around the globe and receiving a different perspective on the world and simple daily habits. Also, they are able to help you in later in your life, which I experienced multiple times already. Networking is key. Furthermore, the barriers, turmoil, changing energy policies, extensive list of renewable technologies available and so much work still to do in the energy sector is analogous to the SET program; frustrating homologation courses, a yearly changing curriculum, a daunting infinite list of possible electives and a workload like there is no tomorrow. The SET program not only offered me a great understanding of renewable energy, but also how to navigate in ever changing challenging systems. Whether the latter is done on purpose is something you can question of course.
To conclude, I believe experiencing new exciting environments while studying is a great thing. This environment can be next door or at the other side of the world. Just make sure you do not become bored in your studies or job, do come regularly out of your comfort zone and keep exploring what the world i.e. other students at TU Delft have to offer and teach you. These lessons are exactly what the SET program taught me.
Name: Rob de Jeu
Lives in: New Delhi
Bachelors: Economics & Business, and Theoretical Physics & Astronomy
Track SET: Energy & Society