20 March 2018 | Category: Education, Student life

A Day in the Life of a Plant Sciences’ Student

By Mariana Silva

"I´m a 23-year-old Master student in Plant Sciences. I was ...

When deciding on your master programme at WUR you might as well want to know how the daily life in the City of Life Sciences looks like: how to face long days of classes? How to manage the classes with extra activities? Where can students go to have a fun and relaxed moment after a busy day at the campus? Here, I will give you a brief but hopefully helpful description of one of my days as Plant Sciences student during the current period 4.

8.45 AM – Wake Up

In this period, my classes start all only after ten, however I like to wake up with enough time for a relaxing shower and a complete breakfast. A fresh start definitely helps to face any class-full day! By living close to the campus, I have more time also to chat a little with my housemates before going on my way to Forum.

It’s a Tuesday, and lately quite sunny which remembers me the mornings in my home country. I grab my lunch, bike keys and leave home ready for another day and another interesting class.

10.30 AM – Morning class

My mornings in this period start always with a lecture about Viruses – from taxonomy to plants’ and animals’ diseases. The course is called Fundamentals of Applied Virology and raised my interest right away since it covers a wide spectrum of subtopics and gives you the chance to learn a lot about recent epidemics. More than interesting, as I am specializing in Phytopathology and Entomology, viruses are also a hot research topic.

12.15 AM – … in Dutch means “lunchtime”!

Viruses can be interesting, but food is essential to keep the focus and energy for the classes still ahead. I must say that as Portuguese, was harder to adapt to the meal hours and the different food (I mean, bread can be very interesting but …). The truth is that the Dutch lifestyle requires adaptations like this one. Besides, after a while you realize is not that hard 🙂 There’s also a big variety of meals options in both Forum, Orion and Campus Plaza. Still, the best part is that variety does not mean different types of bread (yeeei) but instead food from diverse countries and cultures, from Italian to Asiatic! Hence, there’s always a solution for those busy (lazy?) days when you cannot cook or simply forgot your lunch at home.

13.25 AM – Precisely on time 

Time to go back to the virology lectures, however now to practical class. Since we work with new machines and techniques, we need some introductions from teachers and technicians. For that, and to avoid miss any information, punctuality is important. Adding, once some protocols involve transgenic plants and potentially dangerous virus, we work in controlled environments and fully equipped laboratories. I must say such laboratories are a great advantage of being a plant scientist at WUR!

17.15 AM – World domination via viral epidemics is postponed… for now.

Could be indeed a plan for some, but the only truth here is the fact of being done with classes for now. I leave the lab with the hope of 0 contamination in my samples and ready to start the fun part of my day (I mean I love pipetting… but you know). I grab some coffee and head into the city center direction.

18.00 AM – Time to teach some Portuguese

Cycling to the Building with the Clock, where I have the great opportunity to share some knowledge about the 6th most spoken language in the world (already 2 enough reasons to learn it, no?). For the coming hour, students from the beginner level learn not only the language of Camões, but also historical and cultural facts about Portugal.

19.00 AM – Let’s level up!

The level increases to intermediate, as well as the litters of tea and the number of cookies. All it takes to keep all my students awake and motivated!

20.00 AM – Class dismissed but the Latin mood is still on!

A quick snack as an energizer and I am ready for some salsaaaa! At ISOW, besides, the language courses, you can also do a lot of sportives, musical and relaxing activities. In fact, was through the ISOW Salsa classes that I get to know more students in Wageningen and that helped me to fit in. Due to the great Salsa teachers (Lucia and Santos), after more than one year I still attend their classes and feel is a great integration moment still.

21.30 AM – Heading back home

… for some rest and a real dinner, because some Portuguese habits you just can’t let go so easily. Luckily, I live with great housemates, so every time our schedules cross, we share food and nice talks – we talk about our days, what’s going on in The Netherlands and in the world. For me, the perfect end of the day. Before bed-time, I try to get in touch with my family and friends, tell them about my adventures and how glad I am to have them in my life, even if some kilometers apart.


So, this was a close insight into my daily life as a WUR Master student. If you have questions regarding any topics I mentioned or about my master programme, feel free to leave a comment or share some coffee-break words

By Mariana Silva

"I´m a 23-year-old Master student in Plant Sciences. I was born in Porto, the second biggest city of Portugal, yet I consider myself a citizen of the world. My eagerness to discover new cultures and the studies quality led me to come to Wageningen almost 2 years ago. Meanwhile, I hope that by sharing my stories and daily-life makes your “Wageningen experience” and time studying abroad easier and better." :)

There are 20 comments.

  1. By: Nkulet Alex · 03-04-2018 at 14:13

    I love the schedule but I know it depends with program and activities someone engages in.

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 03-04-2018 at 14:21


      Indeed the schedule varies according to your activities. Still, a big plus of this university is that you have a lot of activities and organizations to join, which besides expectations, might fit better into your schedule as well 🙂
      If you have more doubts about this topic, I can help out with more info.

  2. By: Adek Azantilow · 03-04-2018 at 16:09

    It’s been exciting reading about your experiences and areas of specialisation.
    I’m anxious to tell my own story in the near future.
    I am particularly interested in Seed pathology because where I come from our seed testing technology is underdeveloped and farmers tend to sow seeds that are diseased. I,d like to be properly educated on seed treatment when I become part of you.
    A potential student of plant sciences.

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 13-04-2018 at 17:45

      Dear Adek,

      thank you for reading my story!
      Is grateful to know it made you feel more interested in Plant Sciences here in Wageningen 😀
      Regarding the seed market, if that is what you intend to be a specialist at, I can guarantee you there’s no better place to study.
      Hope my stories help in your decision to be more than a potential student.


  3. By: Isis Gtz · 04-04-2018 at 05:42

    I enjoyed your story.
    I want to study a Msc in plant science or plant biotechnology.
    How many hours class do you have? How many time do you spend in the lab? I mean, are you allowed to be there a long time?

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 04-04-2018 at 10:06

      Dear Isis,

      First of all thank you for reading it and for your feedback!
      To answer your questions: the number of hours of classes per day is generally between 4 to 6 hours, depending if is a day with practical classes or not. Besides, there are also self-study courses, which allow you to manage your time in a better and more personalized way. Usually, practical classes would be around 3 hours. But if you need more time or in case something went wrong with your experiment you can stay longer, yes, still the teachers are super helpful!
      I had plant biotechnology as course and found it super interesting 🙂 So I believe you would definitely like the MSc!


  4. By: Basiru yusuf Tunde · 04-04-2018 at 08:58

    Hello Mariana Silva!!!
    The article is just so great. Though, i’m a prospective masters student at WUR but in all honesty, i love this measured and engaging article. I can’t wait to be part of this dynamic and amazing institution.

    What a good read!


    Basiru yusuf

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 04-04-2018 at 18:57

      Dear Basiru,

      I am glad you feel so motivated to start your Wageningen adventure after reading my article! 😀
      I truly believe you will have a great experience and indeed, is a great institution.


  5. By: HARSHA NIRMAL KUMAR · 04-04-2018 at 10:01

    It was nice getting to know about the life at Wageningen University and Research. I am an aspirant of Masters degree program in plant sciences and luckily I share the same interests as you. I am planning to apply to WUR for the winter intake, what would be your advice to me? I wish to pursue a Doctorate in Genetic Engineering related topic. So I could really do with some advice from you. Also from your blog I guess life at WUR is really Awesome and lovely.

    I am Graduate of B.Tech Biotechnology, from India.

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 13-04-2018 at 17:42

      Dear Harsha,

      there is not great feeling than knowing we are helping other incoming students!
      I am sure you will enjoy your staying and experience as WUR student 🙂
      If meanwhile, you have more doubts you can always contact me. Hopefully, my future blogs will keep helping you 🙂


  6. By: Abdoul Khalighi Diallo · 04-04-2018 at 17:45

    Hi Mariana Sylva! Thanks for sharing this! I am an invitee for the MSc Forest and Nature Conservation and was wondering how really to handdle this new student life when/if I make it to WUR. You kind of answered most of my questions but I wanted to know if there is something like an “immersion phase” for those students who may be returning to school after a long period of field work. In other words, is it a full-day plan as soon as you get there or is it slow at first and tight after a while? Thank you again for sharing, and please keep doing it!

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 04-04-2018 at 18:53

      Hello Abdoul,
      is really grateful to know I could help you by sharing my routine!
      Regarding your question: I can give you once more my personal example: I did a one-year internship in PRI before starting my MSc here, and I wondered how hard would be to get back to the study rhythm, especially in an English master. However, it turned out that as soon as you plan well your activities with your study time is all possible! I can give some recommendations tho, for example, I personally think the first period is quite intense, so I would just take half of courses or 9ECTS instead of 12ECTS. It also helps if you connect with your colleges after classes, so you can always take doubts and also share tricks of how to survive during exams week, for example. Try as well not to focus only on your MSc, try to do something that helps you to relax, keep the problems away for a while (yoga also helped me managing stress) or to add something to your experience abroad/CV as a volunteer.
      Hope you enjoy your time in Wageningen! 🙂


      1. By: Abdoul Khalighi Diallo · 05-04-2018 at 13:01

        Thank you so much Mariana Silva!
        This is really helpful. Yeah it would be challenging to have a full-day class in another language (English in this case) as soon as you hit the ground but I feel that your advice to hang out and do some sport to relax is very exciting.
        Hope I’ll make it when I’ll be there!
        Thanks again!

  7. By: Ramadhani Mpangaosi · 06-04-2018 at 11:10

    I ready your story ‘daily life in Wageningen university’, you make me more interested than before and still am looking for chance to join that university. Congratulation for being there, enjoy your life
    From Tanzania

    1. By: Mariana Silva · 13-04-2018 at 17:48

      Dear Ramadhani,

      I am glad to know that, I hope my future articles keep motivating you to come to the city of life sciences 🙂
      Enjoy the great place that is Tanzania meanwhile!


  8. By: Doreen Ogbonna · 30-08-2018 at 13:51

    Dear Mariana,
    Thank you so much for sharing your daily experiences in wageningin.I am aspiring to apply for my masters in plant sciences in the same university and would want you to assist me with a draft a catchy letter of motivation for the course.

  9. By: Mariana Silva · 01-09-2018 at 12:02

    Dear Doreen,
    sure I can try to help.
    You can send me an e-mail to mariana.santoscoutasilva@wur.nl explaining in what specifically you need assistance 🙂


  10. By: Bidisha bora · 09-04-2019 at 18:30

    Hello there! i am bidisha bora from india, your blog gave me much of the answers i was seeking. Still, i have a doubt about the organic Agriculture course there in wageningen, i mean how is it, is it tough to tackle? Could you help me out. I am an undergraduate student right now and i dream of studying my masters in wageningen.

    1. By: Õnne Kask · 30-04-2019 at 12:37

      Hi Bidisha,
      You can get in touch with the student coach of the Agriculture programme. You can do so via the contact form on the programme page.
      Best, Onne

  11. By: Luis fonsi · 07-04-2020 at 12:43

    we warmly well come you to attend the plant science conference is on September 21-22,2020
    as speaker and delegate for this conference

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