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Why Hector Suarez chose for a PDEng program

 Who: Hector Suarez
 Country of origin: Venezuela
PDEng at: Faculty of Applied Sciences, Process & Equipment Design, Delft University of Technology

“On the first day of our PDEng program we were told: ‘Try new things’”

The interview with Hector about his PDEng program doesn’t take place at the university. Hector finished his PDEng program in August 2019 and works since September at GEA Niro PT in the city of Den Bosch. This is one of the largest technology suppliers for food processing and a wide range of other industries. “I’m work here as a Process and Sales Engineer in Freeze Concentration.”

 More job opportunities
“For me, it was very clear I wanted to work in the Netherlands after my PDEng program. There are much more job opportunities here than in Venezuela. In my home country aren’t enough jobs for people with my level of education. About six months before I finished my PDEng, I started looking for a job that focusses on the scale-up of process and pilot plant operation. The job description of my current job matched perfectly with what I wanted. I really liked the vibe of the company so I was happy they chose me for this job. The people here are very nice. A Chinese colleague and I are the first international employees at this location of the company. Although everybody speaks English with us, I also feel the need to learn Dutch.”

Good feeling about the program
Hector finished his Bachelor and Masters degree in Chemical Engineering respectively at the University Rafael Urdaneta and the University of Zulia in Venezuela. During his study, he also gained a lot of work experience for an engineering company in the field of gas and oil. “Despite my Master’s degree, there weren’t any career opportunities available on my level, so I knew I had to find them elsewhere. When I started my Masters, the son of one of my professors went to the University of Delft for a PDEng program. I kept that in mind. When I was finishing my Masters I checked out other options for my next step, but Delft and the program gave me good feeling so I applied.”

Courses and projects
During his traineeship in Process & Equipment Design Hector worked on a group design project with a focus on a novel process concept for natural gas liquefaction for Shell Global Solutions International and also did an individual design project at Ioniqa Technologies. Here, Hector worked on chemical PET recycling processes. “This program was perfect for me because I didn’t want focus on academics, but also wanted to work in the industry. On the first day we were told: ‘Try new things’. So I did! Besides the mandatory courses, I chose courses like bioprocess engineering and modelling to broaden my horizon.” Next to the courses, Hector worked on the projects with his group. During a group design project, every team member has a role within the group. “My first workgroup consisted of four people from four different countries. I really liked the size of our group because it is easier to exchange roles.”

Take it!
The transition from Venezuela to the Netherlands went, in Hector's own words, “very smooth”. “The university helped with pretty much everything. I had to arrange some things at the embassy in Venezuela. The university got a nice studio for me. I had no difficulties with fitting in. All my fellow PDEng candidates came from all over the world and were in the same position as me. We mixed very easily. Now, a lot of my friends from the PDEng program still live in the Netherlands. Most of them moved , but we are still in contact. In the Netherlands, no place is far away,” Hector smiles. He finishes his story with a recommendation for people who are interested in aPDEng program: “If you have the opportunity, take it! You learn a lot, meet nice people and gain a lot of experience. What’s not to like?”