What I learned from WUR: Natural Science vs Social Science

By Siti Widyastuti Noor

Hi! I am an Indonesian student at Wageningen University & Re...

One of the many things that I like from studying at Wageningen University is the interaction I can have with people coming from different backgrounds, including the background of studies.

I find it challenging to be in the same class or in the same group project with people that have a different academic background with me, however, it also gives me valuable experiences.

This university hosts many programs, where natural science programs have a bigger number than social studies. I have a background in social science. Now I am studying International Development at Wageningen University. There are four specializations within this study program: Politics and Governance of Development, Economics of Development, Sociology of Development, and Knowledge and Technology Innovation. There was a compulsory course for every student in the program. I found it was challenging because even in the same group of social science, the students discussed a lot about these different approaches from different specialization.

My experiences

I was always stuck in a discussion with my best friend. She is an Economics student, while I am doing Politics. She is more into the quantitative approach and dealing much with numbers (to be honest, I am not good when dealing with them ?). However, I feel that it was fun to know our differences and I learned a lot from our talks. At the end of the course, we feel that our knowledge may be complementary to each other. This class also inspires us to write a research paper together for an academic conference someday.

Besides following this course, there are also other courses that are interesting for me, which is Environmental Quality and Governance. This is a compulsory course for students majoring Environmental Science.

At the first time, I felt in doubt to register this course. I imagine that I need to master a lot of the technical issue and dealing with numbers. However, I experienced something challenging and also fun while joining this course. I also talked to some of my friends and we shared our impression after taking this course. I did not expect, that I will learn about toxicology and some environmental issues. But the group works and the lectures help me in understanding the subject. For the student from environmental science and other natural sciences background, I guess, they found challenges while doing simulation and role-playing as part of the class activities.

What I learned from these experiences…

“All the different sciences should work hand in hand to make this world a better place to live in!”

I think these courses will help me in the future. I believe when I graduate and start working, I need to deal with people from different academic backgrounds. Then, there are also other activities in the University that will prepare the students for this, such as the internship and Academic Consultancy Training.

Finally, I learn that we should not debate which sciences are better. As long as we like what we are studying, I am sure we can contribute to our knowledge. Because of all the different sciences should work hand in hand to make this world a better place to live in!

By Siti Widyastuti Noor

Hi! I am an Indonesian student at Wageningen University & Research, pursuing my Master's degree in International Development with a specialization in Politics and Governance of Development. I really enjoy living in Wageningen and I will share my experience of studying here, I hope every reader will enjoy my posts

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