PODCAST: Our People Abroad, Episode 6: Mexico

There are not many similarities between Mexico and The Netherlands. But, according to Sander Verkijk of Neso Mexico, that is what makes exchange so fascinating and valuable.
Posted by Nuffic

They started out as true pioneers, working remotely on laptops in restaurants and universities across the city. Now, 14 years later, the Netherlands Education Support Office (Neso) in Mexico City, Mexico, has developed into a widely-respected organisation that functions as a matchmaker between Mexican and Dutch educational institutions, businesses and governments.

And – according to Neso Mexico’s Chief Representative Sander Verkijk – when these two worlds meet, that is when the magic happens. “Opposites attract”, Verkijk explains to journalist Mike Cooper during the sixth episode of Nuffic’s podcast series Our People Abroad. The vast differences in culture between the two countries is precisely what attracted Verkijk to Mexico, and what continues to attract many Dutch as well as Mexican students to look into exchange opportunities.

An extra plate at the table

Even though Mexico is an enormous country – the population of its capital alone outnumbers all of The Netherlands – “there is always an extra plate at the table for you”, Verkijk tells Cooper. Mexicans 'work, act, think and talk' differently than the Dutch and that’s where the learning begins, he says.

After exploring these intriguing differences, Verkijk discusses the all-important work of Neso Mexico in facilitating exchange and bringing parties together. “At this moment, over half of all Dutch higher education institutions have an agreement with Mexican institutions.”

Through exchange and alumni events, Neso Mexico is using education and knowledge to build bridges that span the Atlantic – and leave a lasting mark on the people of both countries.

Listen to Our People Abroad, Ep. 6