Things to do before securing admission
What is Wageningen University and Research?
“Wageningen University and Research” is a combination of an academic university (WU) for Bachelor and Masters’ studies, and several research centres (Wageningen Research) which are tailor made to pursue research in a particular domain of life sciences. Doctoral training (PhDs) is handled by 6 graduate schools that cover all the disciplines of life sciences. Due to this, Wageningen, the small town of 35000 in which this university dwells is historically called “City of life sciences”.
Currently, Wageningen University is ranked 1st in Agriculture and related studies by QS ranking and Taiwan ranking. It appears on #64 in Times ranking for universities of higher education and is #1 in Dutch University ranking according to Dutch survey ranking group “Keuzegids Universities 2018”. The primary vision of this university is to pursue fundamental as well as applied research in life science domain and make sustainable innovations which facilitate a better tomorrow in event of increasing population, global climate change and shortage of food.
Wageningen University is ranked 1st in Agriculture and related studies by QS ranking and Taiwan ranking.
Why choose WU?
Almost 100 years old, WU is structurally, a small university which educates roughly 10,000 students (including Bachelors and Masters). The number of students facilitates personal interactions between students and instructors/ professors. This makes education an interactive, non-plenary process. Another key point of strategies employed in education by WU is the practical nature of academic material. Vital elements of all subjects are elaborated by use of practical situations for examples. Hands-on experience can also be gained concurrently with theoretical knowledge. Depending on the research conducted by respective chair groups, education process is channeled in a collaborative, interactive and focused direction.
What to look for?
About the university
Before making choice of any university, a prospective student always has to study the structure, culture and the work ethics. For WU, this can be done by visiting the main website. Alternatively, every year, there are “open days” arranged for prospective bachelor and masters students. There are also “online open days” available for far of prospective candidates.
Information about housing is another important detail that every student has to think about. In WU, the housing is made extremely easy to secure, especially for international students. Realty agencies like “IDEALIS” and “HOUSINGDESK Wageningen” cater specially to the needs of students in WU. IDEALIS allocates student houses (Self-contained, shared facilities, furnished, unfurnished) according to student preferences. While doing so, they also take into account how far of the student is from the university. So, if a student is applying from Asia, he gets more preference than a student applying from Europe. Detailed information can be found on the IDEALIS website.
Student life doesn’t mean studying all the time, certainly not in the Netherlands. You are allowed to have some leisure time. The weekends, weekday evenings and national holidays are supposed to be enjoyed to the fullest. So, a prospective student must know ways to have fun in Wageningen. WU has provided an easy way to explore that by making a special section on their website which highlights the various activities that are being carried out in Wageningen.
Additionally, the RESOURCE magazine, which is a biweekly university magazine, lists all the events and forums being conducted in wageningen for students. Various study and sports associations garnish the quality of student life in Wageningen.
The Dutch food is very much in line with continental cuisine.
Probably, the most important aspect of any university that attracts or fails to attract students
is its quality of research. I
n WU, the quality of research conducted is maintained at a very high level through industrial/ non-governmental and governmental collaborations. Generally speaking, all the chair groups strive to achieve maximum funding for research opportunities. This makes the university research oriented rather than product-oriented.
Apart from this, the prospective student must know details about the research being conducted by the chair group he wants to study under. Updated information about this can be easily found on WU website.
Apart from these key things to investigate, before applying for the university, there are a few other things depending on individual preferences that one must think of. I would like to illustrate some which crossed my mind before I made the decision.
There are a lot more things that we have to think of before the journey to study.
According to the Dutch law, it is mandatory for a student to purchase an insurance policy that covers all health care services for the length of his/ her education tenure. This problem is sorted out by the university itself. The Students Service Centre has a close collaboration with AON insurance company which deals with the bulk registration of students. Students also can choose their own insurance company. Along with that, the university also helps students to register at local GP clinic as well as hospital service for their health issues.
If anybody knows the case of Netherlands beforehand, they are sure to know that bicycle is the favorite vehicle in the Netherlands. Although, most people who live here owns cars, they prefer to use bicycle when travelling in close proximity. For students, it is almost like a compulsion, considering the enormous taxes levied on motor vehicles. So, the problem of transportation is sorted by a clean, sustainable, environment-friendly and free mode of locomotion. BICYCLES!
Transportation over larger distances is achieved by bus or by trains. This is not particularly cheap, but there are several schemes that a student can exploit to stay in budget while travelling.
For those who are not used to it, either need to cook for themselves, or have to get
acquainted with the taste. Mealtimes are also very continental styled with breakfast around 9-10am, lunch around noon and dinner around 6pm evening. Students should remember this when socializing. So, think of that before coming to Wageningen.
In Wageningen, it is very safe to carry cash around, but it is a bit pointless. Most things, one can buy on their pin card (Dutch bank debit/ ATM card). Carrying this one card around is good enough. Although some things like bus transport rely only on cash.
There is a huge expat community in the Netherlands which faces the same challenges.
Local signs and boards
All the local signs and boards are obviously in Dutch (Nederlands). Its’ worthwhile to know what some of the common Dutch words mean. Almost everyone in Wageningen speaks English, but it is good to remember a few key words in the local language before coming to the Netherlands.
There are a lot more things that we have to think of before the journey to study. These depend on our own culture, experience, life choices and ambitions. A prospective student who is still trying to make a decision can find most of the information he needs on the internet. There is a huge expat community in the Netherlands which faces the same challenges. Its website is very effective in tackling these challenges.