This article is part of a series called “Twente Leeft!” (Twente Lives!). You can read personal stories here about living and working in Twente. Twente is a nice place to be, according to the talents we meet. The beautiful nature, space, the down-to-earth mentality; they all characterise Twente. There are also plenty of career opportunities! Twente has many innovative, international and future-proof companies that are desperate for staff. Want to know what Twente has to offer? You can find Denisa Licu story below.
Twente stole the heart of Romanian Denisa Licu (25). When she came to the University of Twente in 2017 for her master’s in Interaction Technology, she did not yet know that she would stay after her studies. However, Enschede suits her so well that visiting Romania twice a year is enough for her. “I used to live in Bucharest, and I never expected to live anywhere other than a big city”, she says. “Enschede has all the facilities that a big city has, and more: everything can be reached quickly by bike, and there are no traffic jams or huge crowds. You will find yourself in the middle of nature within a few minutes, and I found out that I love running in the woods or kayaking on the Twente Canal. Enschede has the right combination of city and countryside for me: it has everything that a city has, but also the nature and close-knit community of the countryside.”
She also likes the cultural differences. “Something that really struck me, in the beginning, is that many people here are preoccupied with things like global warming or politics. In Romania, people are mainly preoccupied with taking care of the basic necessities in life. There is hardly any time for these kinds of conversations.” She also notices less extreme cultural differences. “I was buying a duvet and was surprised that it does not come with a cover, as it does with us. And I’m still getting used to the fact that you eat bread at lunchtime instead of a hot meal”, she says with a laugh.
Denise is now learning the Dutch language. She finds it difficult because it is a Germanic language, and her mother tongue is of Romanic origin. “But it is going well: I can already follow conversations quite well when people speak slowly, even though I thought that I would never understand Dutch in the beginning. I now live in a student home with five Dutch people. We speak English most of the time, but we have been speaking Dutch more and more often so that I can learn faster.”
She has been working at Innovalor in Enschede for a few months as a Machine Learning Engineer. Because of corona, there are some colleagues that she has only met online. “I am a ‘people person’, and I really regret that it has to be like this right now, but it is the way it is. Things will hopefully change soon, and we can meet in real life.”
So although the conditions are not optimal for Denisa due to the lack of human interaction, she is delighted with her job. “I have always been interested in computer science. I wanted to do my master’s abroad and ended up at the University of Twente. This was one of the few universities where I could decide when I wanted to attend classes. This job also gives me much freedom, and I can combine technical knowledge with creativity.”
Innovalor is a company that provides mobile identity verification. It was the first company to use NFC (Near Field Communication), a way of sharing small amounts of information within a radius of ten centimetres. “Our application is used by Rabobank, among others, and we have many other large customers worldwide. We are no longer the only ones that work in this way, but we are the biggest.”
Denisa’s department is machine learning. It ensures that computers make themselves smarter. “I certainly don’t think that computers can replace people. I wouldn’t even want to work on something like that because I do not think that computers can ever match the value of human contact. Something that I like about my field is that we are increasingly able to let computers help people by ensuring that people no longer have to do repetitive tasks and that they can engage in more challenging things instead.”
Twente is the ideal place to live and work, according to the talents we meet. Want to know why? Read personal stories about living and making a career in Twente on twente.com/twente-leeft. Want to look for a job immediately? Then take a look at our extensive job site.