For this edition of EstimATEor we interviewed Monica Panigrahy, a first year BSc2 student. She cooked some wonderful Indian food for us which consisted of some chicken curry, a cauliflower and potato curry, some rice and naan! We proceeded to ask Monica some interesting questions to find out more about her.
Where did you live before moving to the Netherlands?
I’m from India, but I lived there until I was six. Then I moved to Dubai, then Oman for a few years and finally Abu Dhabi. So I’ve lived practically more than half of my life in the Middle East.
Why did you choose to come to the Netherlands?
For me it was pretty much because of the BSc2 programme. There weren’t many courses like this in other countries. This country is a pioneer in Econometrics. Also, when I visited the Netherlands a few years ago I really liked it! It was my favourite out of all the western European countries I visited.
Did you have any prior expectations or stereotypes about the Netherlands before moving here?
Not necessarily. I had been here before so I had a fairly good understanding of what the country was like and how everyone is pretty straightforward.
What was the process like for you of moving here? Was it hard?
Moving to a new country is always a bit hard. My dad came with me for a few days to help me settle in and I remember sitting at my desk the day after he left thinking ‘ok now I’m actually on my own for the next four years’ and it was pretty daunting, but it hasn’t been too hard. I have good friends, it’s fun, there’s so much to do here in Rotterdam. It’s great!
Rotterdam is pretty different from Abu Dhabi right?
Yeah, in Abu Dhabi I don’t think there’s that much to do that is easily accessible. It's quite spaced out, so you need a car to get anywhere and public transport consists of buses and there aren’t many, so you basically need a car. Over here you can just bike anywhere
What’s the biggest difference between there and here for you?
The culture here is far more liberal. You can do a lot and there aren’t many restrictions. Over there of course as a conservative country there are so many restrictions. Over here it’s far more free, which is nice. I'm free to go where I want, and do what I want.
If you weren’t doing econometrics and you could pursue anything you’d like, regardless of money or talent, what would you pursue?
I really liked chemistry in school so maybe that, but also a pilot. Flying planes is pretty cool. I’m still planning on getting a recreational pilot’s license later on.
What’s your favourite place you’ve been so far and where would you like to go?
I think I have multiple. Here in Rotterdam, it’s just a small hideout near the lake, it’s the most peaceful place in the world. I haven’t gone there lately because of the terrible weather. For the place that I want to go to, it is Patagonia in Chile and Argentina. That place looks spectacularly beautiful and I would love to visit.
Speaking of weather, what do you think about the weather here compared to the weather in Abu Dhabi?
I think I prefer this to be honest. Abu Dhabi is just way too hot. In Abu Dhabi you can’t go out in the summer, which is most of the year. You get down, you get in the car, you go to the mall, and that’s it. Everywhere you go is air-conditioned. We never really go outside. You can’t walk around in Abu Dhabi, it’s just not feasible. I really like that you can just walk to places here.
Thanks for the amazing food and great conversation, Monica!