The Wageningen Experience
By Eduardo Kaleb Zamora Garcia
At some point of the year 2013, while I was working on a telecommunication company, I realised I was not yet ready for the long-term life of a full-time employee and I was actually longing for the experience of studying a postgraduate programme abroad.
I found out about Wageningen University while looking for master programmes in Biosystems Engineering. Although the process of gathering all the documents and letters was quite exhausting, once I had submitted the admission application to the university it only took 11 days for receiving the confirmation letter, and a couple of months more to sort out the scholarship process and a bunch of more things that need to be set when moving to another country.
I could easily move around on my bike without getting too cold or too wet, considering the weather conditions of Wageningen.
I must confess that my arrival to Wageningen was not as smooth as I would have liked to be. I had arrived a month late due to some bureaucratic issues, so I had to start the courses on Period 2. During the “idle” time while I was not attending the Period 1 courses, I spent a couple of weeks wandering a little bit through Europe, and getting myself used to my new life in the Netherlands. However, I didn´t wait long before meeting some really cool and kind people. I got a nice group of Mexican friends, but also I got a very nice and multicultural group of friends from many countries.
When I first arrive, I lived for a few months in one of the containers on Haarweg-333, although some people enjoy living there, it was not the ideal place to live in. I moved out to a house with two Indian flatmates, very close to the Campus and to the centre, so I could easily move around on my bike without getting too cold or too wet, considering the weather conditions of Wageningen.
It was a bit difficult at the beginning to keep track of everything.
The first courses I attended were very interesting and also very challenging. I had been out of school for a while so it was a bit difficult at the beginning to keep track of everything, so I had to do a bit of extra work on the evenings so I would be able to keep up with the rest of the class.
The Biosystems Engineering programme is not a very international programme since only 4 of around 20 students were non-Dutch. On one hand, I got the chance to meet a lot of friendly Dutch guys and girls, but the other hand, there was a very distinctive division between groups during the breaks or outside the courses.
From left to right: Alberto (Costa Rica), Junyi (China), Alessandro (Italy) and me
Besides the courses, I enrolled myself on an indoors football team. The exciting thing about this team it was that we were the only mixed gender team and that one of my teammates, Paulina, was to become my girlfriend a few months later, and we won the tournament in our first season!
The champions: Iena Ridens FC
I also participated in a few sports events organised by Thymos, i.e. the Olympic games, Full Moon Canoeing, One World Week, Stick Games Night, etc. which seemed like the perfect excuse to stay up late on a school night!
One World Week (up), Full Moon Canoeing (down)
The student life in Wageningen, in my opinion, was really amazing. Although I had very tough courses (and even had to do 2 re-exams) in general the way the courses are structured and the classes prepared, really allow students to focus on the studies but also to have some spare time to enjoy the life outside the classroom.
The student life in Wageningen, in my opinion, was really amazing.
One of my favourite spots on the campus was of course “The Spot”, it is a very cosy and chilled place where you can meet up with your teammates to discuss school topics, or you can have a nice meal and even enjoy a few beers to let the train of thoughts go on a philosophical adventure on a Friday afternoon.
Another exciting part of living in Wageningen is the amount of parties you can attend to in one weekend! As a student city, one can imagine that after a long week of studying a lot of people just want to let themselves free and enjoy the nice weather (that is one or two days during summer) for a barbeque or a night out with a multicultural party in any of the many buildings around the city.
People I used to hang out with started to leave for internships, thesis, or just because they have finished.
After my first year had ended, I felt time speeded up and a lot of people I used to hang out with started to leave for internships, thesis, or just because they have finished. I have to admit that seeing everyone leaving is one of the saddest things that a foreign person living abroad can feel. But just like all my friends who were leaving, I had to do the same after finishing my thesis. In May 2016 I moved back to the Mexican city of Merida, Yucatán, in the south-east of México. I was pretty lucky to find an internship in the same city where my lovely girlfriend was living, what a coincidence if you ask me!
Life after graduation
After the internship period ended, I was offered a full-time position in the technology transfer centre where I did my internship and where now I am leading a researching project related to Environmental Technology.
I flew back to Wageningen in September 2016 to attend the graduation ceremony. It was a nice opportunity to say thanks and farewell to those who made my stay in Wageningen such a pleasant and life-changing experience.
Graduated at last!