Student Story – Yongbo
Yongbo already showed his favourite things about Wageningen in the student tour at ood.wur.nl. I also spoke to him about his experiences with studying at the university.
Hello Yongbo! Good to see you again. Could you introduce yourself?
“My name is Yongbo Song. I am 26 years old and from Xi’an, China. I am in my second year of my master’s Organic Agriculture with a specialisation in Agroecology.”
When did you first hear about WUR?
“It was actually on the website US News where they had this ranking of Best University in Agriculture. I studied at UC Davis and it was always Davis or Wageningen that was the number one.
I would say the ranking was how I got to know Wageningen, but not the only reason why I decided to come. I also wanted to go to a new place that was not the States nor China. I knew that I was going to study here probably towards the end of my bachelor’s, but it took another year to land me here.”
What was your motivation or passion to study in Wageningen?
“A part of the reason why I decided to go to Wageningen is for its international reputation. I was eager to see what WUR can offer in terms of new knowledge and perspectives in the field of agriculture.
I think WUR would is also a good entry point to get to know the Dutch agriculture system better. And the reason why it is so advanced and influential on a world level.”
Also, why did you choose your programme?
“I actually chose my programme because of specialisation Agroecology. My bachelor’s degree was in International Agricultural Development. During which I was exposed to many ‘unconventional’ or ‘less industrialised’ way of farming and how they could work.
Sustainability was also a hot topic in my study. Agroecology just seemed to be a good fit for my background. I also was interested in the Double Degree program of MOA where the students got to study in an institute for 3-4 month. But eventually, I just decided to stay here.”
Maybe you already know where you see yourself working in the future?
“I would like to work in the agricultural sector as that is where all of my training has been. Working in a company would be nice as I haven’t done anything outside of an educational institute for schools or internship. The location of the job is not a big issue as I’ve spent most of my adolescence and adulthood abroad.”
Which part of your study do you find the most interesting?
“One thing I really enjoyed in my study was the farm visits. It is always nice to see where and how the farmers go about their daily life. So many of farmers that we visited in class have their special or innovative way of farming. I was always impressed by how hard they work to keep their farm going and the willingness they have to learn and share their experience.
The other students from my master’s programme or I shared classed with were also one of the nicest, most interesting people I have met. It was a blast spending time with them in and out of class. They are just so different in so many ways but their ideas and perspective on agriculture are inspiring many times.”
Where do you live?
“I live in Bornsesteeg. It’s one of the student house buildings. It is super close to campus and you have own little space there. Also, many people that I know live here.”
What do you do besides studying?
“Not much and not that exciting. I watched TV-series and listen to music in my apartment. I go to the gym every so often. I do like Zumba and went to Zumba always every week for about two months. I can do some dancing but nothing in the sphere of being professional.”
As an international student abroad, how do you meet other students?
“I think I might other students mostly during classes. When you know enough people, you get to know more people through them. I have been to some parties where I met new people. And you met them again on campus then you are friends I guess.”
How do you experience the international atmosphere on campus?
“I really want to praise Wageningen in this aspect. We have so much diversity here and everyone was treated with respect from my experience. I enjoyed the international atmosphere on campus and felt comfortable being an international student here. Even without speaking Dutch.
I got to know so many people from many different countries and made some good friends. One thing that I think can be better is the integration of Dutch students and international students.”
What do you think about the student life in Wageningen?
“I will be honest, the student life here can be a little dull at times. I think maybe for Dutch or Europeans students who used to live in small-town this is not too bad. I am from a big city so there is quite some limit in terms of the thing you can do. But also school here is not easy, I guess you just spend time studying. Wageningen is a good place for studying for sure, really, not much distraction.”
What do you think about the campus, everything that you can do here?
“The campus is much smaller than the one at UC Davis, so the number of facilities are of course not as large. I can get food, find a room to study, and take a small walk with a friend here. It is sufficient but different compared to the U.S.”
In what way does living in the Netherlands differ from your home country?
“In China, everything is so much more convenient than they are here. In that way, we’re used to being lazy. No need to go outside for things if not necessary. Here, you can’t live without a bike and everything you have to do yourself.
It’s tiring but also motivating. Oh, here people really don’t care about eating that much, but in China food is a big part of the culture.”
What do you like the most about studying and living in the Netherlands?
“I like learning about new things and studying and living here in the Netherlands has taught me so much that I hadn’t known before. I might ridicule Dutch people for making everything so much difficult, but I do admire how much they care about society and the world. And how less attention they made to materialistic incentives.
I think the environment makes you calmer and concentrate on your studies and engage in civil lives than just be better yourself.”
Every 2 weeks I talk to a fellow student about studying at Wageningen University & Research. I would like to know how they experience studying here, especially since we are all far away from home.
Do you have a question about studying in Wageningen? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Or sign up for the updates to receive the next student experience.