Internationals in Eindhoven: Den from Ukraine


Door Sabine te Braake

People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven. Read all our profiles on internationals in Eindhoven here.

Who: Den Tserkovnyi
Country of origin: Ukraine
Work: Lead UX Designer at StudyPortals

On the morning of the interview, Den sends me an email: Can we meet 15 minutes later? He has a meeting at the end of the day and isn’t sure he’s going to be on time. The message from Den is typical for our contact prior to the interview: polite and very friendly. At the end of the day, we meet Den at his favourite spot outside work: Monk Boulder Gym. And in real life, he is just as friendly as online, like I expected.

We enter the big hall of Monk, besides a cosy bar it is full of climbing walls. It’s quite busy. “I love the fact you can do any type of sports here in Eindhoven. I’ve been climbing since I was 12 years old and now you can find me here regularly. With bouldering, you use your explosive strength and technique more, in contrast to regular climbing. Bouldering is very social, I meet a lot of people here. This sport is in some way like my job: I like solving problems, whether it is in programming, designing or deciding what’s the best next step in climbing.”

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Den Tserkovnyi: “Bouldering is a very social, I meet a lot of people here. This sport is in some way like my job: I like solving problems, whether it is in programming, designing or deciding what’s the best next step in climbing.” / Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel

After Den finished his study in Kyiv he wanted to study abroad. It took a lot of research to decide which university and location would be best for him: “I checked lots of articles online about different universities. I also looked at Vienna, but the program at TU/e was much more interesting and the level of English is better here. I decided to do a PDEng in Industrial Design at the TU/e. During my study, I got to know StudyPortals and did my final project with them. Eventually, they offered me a job as a UX designer. When I started at StudyPortals we had one person focusing on UX design. Today I am the lead designer of a team of 7 people.” StudyPortals recently moved into their new office on the top floor of the Klokgebouw on Stijp S. “It’s amazing to work for this company. Our team of 161 people, 105 of them in Eindhoven, consists of 35 different nationalities. Very inspiring!”

Because Ukraine isn’t part of the European Union, Den needed a visa: “The Expat Center here in Eindhoven and TU/e helped me with it. That saved me a lot of hassle.” When asked what he likes about the city he responds: “Eindhoven is a very convenient city, you can find lots of things to do here. I like to go to the Vershal and Brewery Het Veem, and I also like Van Moll and Stadsbrouwerij. I was surprised by the collection of the Van Abbemuseum. And you can travel easily to lots of places thanks to the Eindhoven airport. When it’s warm I enjoy running in the parks in the South of Eindhoven. On the downside, for me it’s difficult to find an affordable home in the Netherlands: I’m not allowed to rent social housing and regular rent is rather high for the proposed conditions. It would be nice if there are some more affordable housing options available. “

And how does he see his future? “I don’t know how long I will be staying in Eindhoven. I like it here, but It depends on my job. The fact my job keeps challenging me constantly helps a lot.”