A Day in the Life: Master’s Student in Urban Environmental Management

By: Thais Varella · 24 October 2018
Category: Education, Student life

Hello!

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my routine here in Wageningen. I study a master in Urban Environmental Management. It is a full-time course, both intense and amazing. I can say that I have been happy here, feeling that I am growing both professionally and personally. Getting to know theories, applications, and incredible people. I hope this will be helpful for you to understand the student’s life in WUR!

6h00 – 8h30: wake up

The morning routine is very polemic; it depends on the habits of each one. I really like to wake up early to do something that has nothing to do with my studies: running, meditating, having breakfast, taking care of plants, reading or even going back to sleep if I want to. I think it’s important to take this time for yourself so you don’t wake up already thinking about the next exam or the deadline for that work. It is a moment that you say to yourself:

“- Relax, it’s okay.”

In my house, I end up being the person who gives food to our cats, as they wake up hungry at 6h00 in the morning, like me. 🙂

8h30 – 12h30: morning class

The course will have a timetable that changes slightly depending on the thesis track you decide to follow. However, in general, they are very similar: morning and afternoon classes. You need credits to graduate. 🙂

We have an incredible infrastructure in the classrooms, projectors, internet, comfortable desks and chairs. Not to mention the accessibility of teachers! But get ready! For some reasons (which we could talk more in another post for the blog) here in the Netherlands they really like group work. Certainly in some (or all) the classes you’re going to do group work, but in the morning we usually only have lectures, with a combination of reflection activities during class, such as: “according to what you have already learned how you can apply your project …”. Yes, they are very focused on efficiency and application, both academic and applied sciences universities.

12h30 – 13h30: lunch time

All courses here in Wageningen are very similar. They are courses in the areas of agriculture, forest, climate, biology, environmental management, and so on. So even out of class, you end up learning a lot! During the lunches, there is a place that I like very much to go that is called Impulse. They always organize open education events with people from different courses and organizations. As a matter of fact, or not, I ended up meeting my best friends in those situations. It’s a great place to have lunch while meeting new people and things!

For eating, I usually bring my own food to the university, mostly because I really enjoy cooking. All buildings have microwaves if you need to heat up your food and your friends will probably do the same so you can eat together. For those who prefer, WUR also has good restaurants and cafes such as Spot (Orion), Restaurant of the Future (Impulse) and Grand Café (Forum). Recently, some places have even started to sell vegan options for drinks and food, which made my life much easier, and I am lactose intolerant.

Photo: Farmer Tales event organized by Boerengroep at Impulse

13h30 – 17h30: classes, group work or excursion

Back to classes. It’s basically the same as in the morning, especially if you’re doing two subjects in that period. But it is also possible that you and your group (do not forget: group work) will define your own schedule of work together or separate. One thing I like very much about the university is that we have options of places to study for all tastes: quieter, louder, with coffee, with plants, even with sun if we have good weather! We end up finding where the group feels best to work, and the teachers support us.

Another very good thing, perhaps for the benefit of being a small country with great mobility, is that we do many excursions to see the applications of the concepts that we are learning in real life. The picture below is from an excursion we did on an organic farm in Groningen, during our class with professor Kasia, Energy, Water and Nutrient Cycles in the Built Environment:

17h30 – 19h30: the day is almost ending

By this time I am already tired, as we had classes and group work all day! But the day did not end to do those little things delayed: meetings, answering emails, going to the market … Or when I want to relax, I go have a coffee with friends or a have walk somewhere. 🙂

19h30: back home

Wageningen currently has people from 103 countries studying in the same place! It’s impressive. In student residences it is very likely that you will live with people from very different places, bringing a different cuisine than you are used to. At my house in Droevendaal, I learned to cook many new recipes, since every day a person is (voluntarily) responsible for cooking. And yes, the table has to be big! It is not uncommon that you think you will cook for 5 and more than 10 people appear. But it’s beautiful. This is one of my favorite moments!

Now I am going to sleep. Zzzz… Good night!

Photo: our table in Droevendaal

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