The new year is approaching: time for a new beginning. For Andrei Iliev, flexworker at Studentflex, starting over is not new at all. He moved thrice the couple of years.

New beginnings: Andrei Iliev about comfort zones and new opportunities

With the new year approaching, it’s for most people time to evaluate. A new beginning, that’s what next year’s going to be. A moment for new goals, new opportunities and above all new courage to start over. For Andrei Iliev, flexworker and part of the international community at Studentflex, starting over is not new at all. He moved from Sofia (Bulgaria) to Maastricht, and recently moved again to Rotterdam. Comfortable is not in Andrei’s dictionary. New opportunities are awaiting… and you have to take them.


‘Where I come from, it’s quite normal to live at home during college’, says Andrei. Many people choose this comfortable path: ‘I used to live with my parents, of course, but it started to gnaw at me. I wanted to be independent and experience new things.’ And new opportunities came around the corner: ‘Maastricht attracted me because of the good Econometrics bachelor. I could’ve stayed in my safe haven, but it was time to stand on my own.’ However, Maastricht soon became too small. ‘Maastricht is fun and cozy, but after a few years it had become too small for me. I was looking for something bigger: Rotterdam is now my new adventure.’


‘When I get too comfortable, it’s time for a change. It’s a mindset. In that respect you can certainly say that I am looking for constant change in my environment. New activities, new people, new things: it gives me renewed energy.’ But there is a downside to everything: ‘Of course it’s tiring every now and then, starting over and over again. The Dutch, for example, can be very direct. In Bulgaria something is often spoken in a more oblique way or a joke is made when a point has to be made. I had to get used to it first, but fortunately my friends are like that as well. Regardless of that, I have the feeling that Bulgarians and Dutch people have more in common than they are different.’


‘I’ve been working since my second study year and I see Studentflex as my new challenge. What am I going to do next? Not sure. I’ve no idea if I’m going to stay in the Netherlands, maybe I’ll move somewhere else again. It depends on how life goes, I try not to stick to a specific plan. I adapt to whatever happens.’ What Andrei wants to do professionally, is more clear: ‘Something with data science or statistical models would be very interesting. At any cost, I want to do something that inspires me. I don’t see myself having a 9 to 5 job for forty years.’ Andrei adds: ‘I think the description of a rollercoaster is a nice metaphor for my life: because of moving thrice it has a lot of ups, but also a lot of downs. I wouldn’t want it any other way.’  

When was the last time you did something new? Do you have new goals for the upcoming year?

Written by Manon de Lijster

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