Internships at the NBSO-office

Read all about the experiences of our  former interns

Alissa Breden

As part of my study year in North America, part of which I studied in Canada, I flew to Houston in May of 2019 to start my internship at the Netherlands Business Support Office. As an Agribusiness Bachelor student, I have been involved in the agricultural industry in Texas during my internship. The first part of my research provided an overview of the agricultural industry in the state. In the second part of my research I looked for opportunities for the Dutch business within agritech. This has identified exiting opportunities.

Within my International Food Business study program, I am trained to work worldwide. Working for the Dutch government abroad was not something I immediately thought of in that aspect, but it turned out to be something that I really enjoyed. Furthermore, the NBSO team was great to work with. Saskia has a lot of passion for her work, and I learned a lot from her. María joined the team when I was halfway through my internship, and she is one of the kindest people I met during my time in Houston. I liked the atmosphere at the office and it suited me well.

I did not know much about the state of Texas and the city of Houston and I did not know what to expect before I traveled here. However, this place has positively surprised me! Houston is very lush and the city is vibrant, diverse, and embracing. Soon I met people from all over the world. Unfortunately I did not have the chance to visit places outside of Houston besides the coastal city of Galveston, but I still discovered new things every day even within the cities boundaries. The things about Houston that I enjoyed the most are the delicious food, the beautiful parks, the "Southern Friendliness", the many events in and around the city, and of course the baseball madness during the summer (Go Astros!). I even enjoyed the weather, though it can be very hot, and I think I may secretly miss it a little when I am back in the Netherlands.

Finally, my time at the NBSO flew by way too fast, and Houston has become a second home to me. I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my career. It has been a great opportunity for which I am very grateful. I hope to visit Texas again soon!

Alissa Breden

Rutger Buijs

"Wow, what a special opportunity!" Was my first thought when I saw that the NBSO Texas was looking for an intern who had to do market research in the Texas aerospace market. When reading the word aerospace, I immediately had a number of impressive associations such as NASA, Boeing and the F-35.

After being told that I was selected for the internship, it all started in the Netherlands at the NAG (Netherlands Aerospace Group) in Delft, where I visited a large number of companies and organizations in a few weeks to get a picture of the aerospace market in the Netherlands. Aerospace is also a very complex market, which made my research a real challenge. Once in Houston, I went to work from the Federal Reserve, where the NBSO is located, every day with my research. Together with my colleagues Saskia and Daniel, we were all three at the office, unless Saskia had to travel for the NBSO, then we were two.

I quickly absorbed myself in their sports culture, in which sports such as (American) football, basketball, ice hockey and baseball play the leading role, wherever you hang there are TV's where these sports competitions are broadcasted. Seeing Houston’s various sports team in person was an awesome experience.

The previous interns advised me to contact interns from other consulates and that proved to be extremely valuable. Among other things, I became good friends with someone at the consulate in Norway with whom I played football every Tuesday.

As time progressed, I came into contact with more and more interesting parties for my report; for example, through conferences that I was able to attend.  The research was so interesting that I regularly lost myself in certain subjects while gathering data for my report.

Now that my time in Houston is over, I realize all too well how great it has been there and how much I have learned. I am very happy that I got the chance to do an internship at the NBSO Texas.

Mark Ardesch

During the last year of my Bachelor Business Administration at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, I did my internship at the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) Houston. As an intern at this office from September until December 2016, I had the opportunity to experience the broad range of services of the NBSO office in the field of trade promotion and trade development between the Netherlands and Texas. I also had the unique opportunity to experience the real American life for four months in one of the largest cities in the United States.

The team. Working together with three fantastic colleagues in an inspiring office, living in an amazing city and made my Texas-time unforgettable. Saskia Pardaans is the Chief Representative of the office and I’ve got to know her as a fantastic person, very driven and passionate for her work. Mariella Priem is the Deputy Representative and is a very enthusiastic and pleasant coworker to work with. Mariella was my internship coach and influenced my internship thesis in a big way, which is evaluated by the Erasmus University with a grade A. I started my internship at the same time as Elene Lenders. It was very pleasant to work with her and to share our America adventures.  

The assignments. During my internship I researched the challenges within the NBSO-network. My research was focused on the following research statement: ‘In what ways will the NBSO-Houston be able to improve her brand awareness in the Netherlands?’ Existing research on the NBSO-network, the RvO and the Ministry of Foreign affairs are the pillars of my research. With the help of my coworkers I conducted multiple surveys and interviews with employees from the Ministry of foreign affairs in the United States and the Netherlands. I also interviewed multiple Dutch companies, located in Texas. In addition to my research, I also had the opportunity to work along in the office. I participated in two Business partner scans and multiple trade promoting activities. Absolute highlights of my internship were the company visits together with Saskia and Mariella.  

The City. Last but not least, I would like to say something about Houston. Houston is a very dynamic city and in according to American tradition, there are a lot of big sports clubs. My absolute favorite sports clubs are the Houston Dynamo’s, the Houston rockets, the Houston Astros and the Houston Cougars. The city has an annual Rodeo show and in February 2017, Houston hosted Super Bowl LI. I lived in an apartment complex in Midtown. Midtown is known as the perfect location for many bars and restaurants. Next to Houston, I visited the cities of Austin and New Orleans, together with my roommate and students from Rice University. Those were all unforgettable city trips! Houston is very centrally located, close to the southern border with Mexico. This offered me the perfect opportunity to visit the amazing places of Yucatan and Miami.

By living in Houston for a few months, you’re able to get to know the real American culture. Sports, Politics and a true connection with Americans makes for an awesome adventure as intern at the NBSO-Houston. Houston stole my heart, I will be back for sure!

Elène Lenders

From September 2016 until February 2017, I did my internship at the Netherlands Business Support Office in Houston, Texas.

As a student in environmental economics, I investigated the potential of renewable energy in Texas and business opportunities for the Netherlands on that field. Since Houston is also known as the ‘energy capital of the world’, the location for my research was perfect. It was great and challenging at the same time to exchange perspectives about renewable energy with business professionals and academics and to include the findings in my report. I was able to work very independently, and on the other hand I also gained insights into the activities and goals of the NBSO. There was always a nice atmosphere at the office and everybody supported me. I experienced it as unique and special that this little office represents the Netherlands and their topsectors in the vast and big state of Texas.

I am glad I had the chance to see something of Texas and visit the diverse and nice cities here. Besides, I know that I will miss my daily drive to the office, which looks out on Houston’s skyline and its adjacent river.

All in all, I’ll never forget the educative, inspiring and fun time I had here.

Cathelijn ten Kate

There I stood, on September 11 with my suitcases together with Marloes (my fellow-trainee) at the immigration desk in Houston. Now I'm really going to start. After having had an interesting start in the Netherlands, where I had a number of conversations with major parties in the healthcare sector in the Netherlands, the time had come to start my research in Texas. From September till December 2017, I was allowed to do an internship at the NBSO Texas where I did research on the Life Science & Health sector in Texas. How can this be of added value for Dutch medical companies, research institutions and knowledge institutes, but also how can the Netherlands be of added value to Texas?

I did this research after completing my bachelor in Public Administration and Organization Studies at Utrecht University. A special interest lies with me in the Life Science & Health sector. This meant that I also found this research very interesting and fun to do. Doing the research in Texas has taught me a lot. Both professionally and personally. I have had many conversations with very interesting people, contributed with my report to an LSH plan for Texas and in December 2017 I presented my report to the Task Force Health Care. But not only interest in the LSH sector made my time in Houston very nice, the office, living in Houston, the people and everything I did in Texas completed my internship. Houston is very nice to live. When I thought of Texas before I left, I did not know what to imagine. Cowboys and ...?

But Houston has surprised me! It is a city that is very open and international. It is a city that you have to get to know to live there but once you know it, it’s beautiful. It is a city in a state that is very moving. And it is the city where the NBSO is located. A beautiful office in a beautiful building with a very nice fellow trainee and two very nice colleagues. I have been able to feel at home and develop myself there. In addition to the office, making contact with other people in Houston was also very nice. There are many similar offices (as consulates) from other countries in Houston. This made contacts easy and made Marloes and I a close group of friends. With this group of friends and other friends we have lots of fun things such as making trips to other cities in Texas or to other states in America.

The time in Houston was educational, professional, productive, interesting, but above all a lot of fun and cozy! I will never forget this experience and time!