Yaw Gyamfi: “I made history in my family for being the first person to ever pursue Master’s degree”
About Yaw Gyamfi
Ghanaian, proud scholar of the 2019 Anne van den Ban Fund, studying Master’s in Food Technology at Wageningen University and Research. He is currently in his first year of study . His master programmme specialization is Product Design. Yaw is passionate about novel food product development. His research interest is based on valorising underutilised and neglected crops to help reduce their associated high post-harvest losses.
Yaw is really enthusiastic about becoming part of this great University. Moreover, he aims in producing better quality food to feed the world today and tomorrow. Below he explains his inspiring story towards Wageningen University and Research.
Applying to Wageningen University and Research
In 2017, I got to know about Wageningen University and Research (WUR) during my six-week curricular research internship at the Food Research Institute (FRI) located in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. One of my supervisors at the Food Processing Division of FRI spoke highly about the university; its achievements and the various opportunities available to students who study here. She inspired me and made me totally convinced that it is possible for me to be a student of this prestigious university granted hardwork, determination and excellence. My dream to study at WUR later became a goal -I began ‘stalking’ the school. I watched lots of news and videos posted by the University on Youtube (Wurtube) and other social media platforms.
After graduating and obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in July 2018 in Ghana, I applied to WUR and gained admission. Earlier this year, the Africa Scholarship Programme was advertised. I applied and went through an interview. Out of over 2000 applicants from Africa, I was chosen to be part of the few who were given the scholarship to study at WUR. You should have seen me on that fateful day when I received the email that I have been nominated for the Wageningen Fellowship Programme – Anne van den Ban. Happiness was even an understatement that day!
“It is wonderful to note that the food industry is the largest industry in the world.”
My Experiences in The Netherlands
I arrived late in the evening at Amsterdam as I transited from Dubai to the Netherlands and was jet lagged. Going through emigration checks and baggage claim happened so fast and smoothly that at a point, I just stood there and admired how efficiently things work over here.
After watching ‘How to get from Schipol Airport to Wageningen’ over and over again, I could even do that with my eyes closed. I followed the signs to the Train station (Platform 3) and finally boarding my first ever train to Ede-Wageningen. I could not stop smiling inside the train as it started moving. I remember my first encounter with the Dutch weather that night as it started raining as soon as I got down from the train to meet my Ghanaian colleagues. Who were part of the UCAS to take me to campus. Within few minutes, I was soaked with rain while waiting for a bus to campus and was shivering as a result of the cold. The bus driver upon seeing me smiled and said ‘mooi weer he?’ which translates ‘nice weather eh?’ and started laughing.
Then the Annual Introduction Days (AID) came with fun-filled activities which included getting to know the city of Wageningen. I was immediately ushered into the bike culture of the Netherlands (I later found out that even the Prime Minister of the nation bikes to work) and it was just an amazing experience as I enjoy biking a lot.
It is interesting realising that roads are demarcated for humans, cars, buses, and even bicycles everywhere. I just kept asking my friends that ‘Do accidents occur here in the Netherlands?’ because movement is so well thought-out and efficient that it was just over me. Also, one unique thing I believe every international student would come to:
love about Wageningen is its environment – how green, serene and quiet it is. I can even hear the beats of my heart whiles in my room sometimes.
Then it got to the part where I realized the Dutch ate bread for breakfast and also for lunch. In fact, I didn’t like that part and the more I think about it, the more I miss my ‘fufu’ and groundnut soup.
The AID days were soon over and I was itching to begin my lectures. I soon realized from the structure of the periods and beginning of lectures that everything is going to be a lot different from lectures in my home country.
Ever felt like the 24 hours in a day is not enough?
Well, the course structure together with mode of delivery of lectures, practical and tutorials could give you that feeling when you come from a country where lectures are given over the semester of about 3 or 4 months and examinations written at the end.
The interesting part is that, I learn new things about food that blow my mind every day. I am prepared for much more amusement, knowledge and technical skills acquisition.
The future is exciting!
Yaw (middle) with friends in Wagenigen University and Research. Photography: Ester
Anne van den Ban Funds
The building of a successful lever has only just begun for me. I must say I am truly thankful for your financial assistance and commitment towards supporting me to study here at Wageningen University and Research. In fact, I cannot thank you enough for this support that will enable me to keep pursuing my academic and career aspirations.
My greatest dream was to earn a Master’s degree in Food Technology here in WUR, to help change the food industry/sector in Ghana, and this would never have been possible without generous donors like you.
Because of your assistance, and even outside of Ghana. Now, family and friends look at me and get inspired to study diligently to also cause meaningful transformations one day.
They say a journey of a thousand mile begins with a step but in my case at WUR, with the pedestal of the Anne van den Ban Funds, my academic journey has begun with a giant leap!
Thank you so much Yaw for kindly sharing your experience with all of us.
We wish you our best in your master degree and your future projects!