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Vineeth's new chapter

Rarely do we get to meet someone who can not only share their experience with living in not one but four regions of the Netherlands. Vineeth takes us on his journey that helped him & his family prioritize creating a balanced life abroad, where the desire to integrate and become a part of Dutch society was always at the core.

Portrait picture Vineeth Maniyara
Vineeth Maniyara

A new chapter in the Netherlands

Being originally from the southern coastal state of Kerala in India, exploring the Wadden Islands brings him a sense of familiarity & comfort. Living abroad, however, is nothing new for Vineeth and his wife, both of them having spent a significant amount of time abroad: “We both grew up in Dubai, in the Gulf. And so we've always been outsiders wherever we were.”

So how did Vineeth end up as a Lead Hydrodynamics Engineer for the Groningen-based Ocean Grazer?  His story in the Netherlands began in Delft, where he was enrolled at TU Delft as a part of the dual-degree Erasmus Mundus program, the COSSE (COmputer Simulations for Science & Engineering). While the university program took care of all the administration ensuring a smooth relocation, worrying about work permits in the Netherlands only really started after he completed his degree. 

“And it was actually quite straightforward,” Vineeth emphasized. “The Dutch administrative system is extremely streamlined and it's all digital and entirely accessible in English. In fact, all I needed was the website of the IND - the Immigration and Naturalization Office,” His application for the Orientation Year Visa was a walk in the park, given how well the instructions were explained.

Transitioning from the Orientation year to the Highly Skilled Migrant permit, was slightly more difficult, Vineeth explains: “You need to join an organization that has the sponsorship license from the IND.” Together with his employer, BT projects, Vineeth successfully acquired the Highly Skilled Migrant visa within six months. The reason that the process was this long is only because BT projects wasn’t initially a recognized sponsor at the IND, and had to become one in order to apply on behalf of Vineeth.  If the company is already a recognized sponsor, the application takes up two weeks. 


Integrating through language & habits

As an engineer, Vineeth stressed the importance of being personable not only to integrate better abroad but also to maximize your chances of landing a job in the Netherlands. Take for example his approach to the interview process: “Even when you're in an interview and you're meeting your potential boss for the first time, it's all about making a connection with them. It’s about taking that moment to give them a sense that you could see yourself working with this person because they're not only a professional, but they are also someone you’d like to work with.”

Language played a big part in helping Vineeth and his wife integrate, no matter the city they lived in: “The best way to integrate is to learn the language and to participate in talking to people in their own language,” Vineeth suggests. “Learning about the language allows you to introduce yourself in Dutch, helping you establish that first connection. After that, you can continue in English. But it’s that initial contact, just a few words in Dutch, which helps to pierce into the heart and soul of the person you're talking to.” Language, however, wasn’t the only thing that helped Vineeth and his wife when moving to the Netherlands.

"In fact, this is probably one of the best things I did when it comes to work-life balance."

As a couple that enjoys spending a significant amount of time working, the Dutch work-life was surprisingly something that made a big impact on them: "In fact, this is probably one of the best things I did when it comes to work-life balance. I think inherently, my wife and I, both of us, we are workaholics... And the Netherlands really helps maintain this balance.” Vineeth further stresses that it’s one of the key factors and key benefits he sees in living in the Netherlands.


Living in Groningen

Another key factor is living in Groningen: "I absolutely love Groningen, it's the closest to what I can call home now. It's been a welcoming place for me and my family, and I'm grateful for the experiences and connections I've made here,” Vineeth shares. Throughout his journey, the city was never the primary drive for relocating - instead, the career opportunities that the city offered helped him decide to move. This doesn’t however mean that he doesn’t appreciate the city: “One thing you notice is when the bike lights go green in Groningen, the bicycles at all ends of the junction go simultaneously. You see a big pool of people doing a bit of a roundabout movement through the junction, and I found that pretty out of the ordinary. Weirdly, that stuck with me. 

Vineeth shared his love for spending time at the Noorderplantsoen Park, through which the Noorderhaven flows. As a fluid dynamicist in the most fundamental sense, this provided the right timing for us to transition into what drew him into engineering: “The flow of water is really what got me interested in engineering in the first place, and it's what keeps me. And the energy transition thread enables me to make a living out of doing what I really am interested in. So I'm really glad the energy transition is taking place in my lifetime.” 


The energy transition

Prioritizing the energy transition is a key focus for the Netherlands, and the political and economic policies from the government help push everything in the direction, Vineeth believes. “The ecosystem itself is primed to enable the energy transition, mainly because we have to, and it's necessary to make changes and adaptations for a smooth transition to a carbon neutral world.” A big part of this is the European Funding that fuels this transition - an observation that Vineeth made when working in the cities of UtrechtEnschede and Groningen.

"The ecosystem itself is primed to enable the energy transition, mainly because we have to, and it's necessary to make changes and adaptations for a smooth transition to a carbon neutral world."

“It just comes down to my one rule, and that is, if you're going to go abroad, get ready to integrate." As a truly global citizen, Vineeth highlights the importance of getting to know the country, the city, and the people you interact with daily. Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone, and be open to learning new habits that might have otherwise prevented you from building a balanced lifestyle. He leaves us with a simple takeaway: “Just integrate and have fun doing it."


Explore your options in the Netherlands

Discover the Dutch workplace culture, working in energy and sustainability. Also discover what the Groningen region has to offer and how to go about in learning the Dutch language .