The study environment is exceptional, to take courses with lecturers that are experts in their field, that are so enthusiastic about their topics, have time to talk to students and answer questions. You really feel valued and part of an academic world. My favourite course was ‘Ecological aspects of Bio-interactions’: we had lecturers that were experts in entomology, microbiology, fungi and plant science and all the lectures looked at interactions between different elements in an agricultural system. We also then did mini-projects with a pHd student – some of us in the lab, greenhouse, field trials etc. Really recommend it!
I also did my thesis with supervision in the Chair Group of Knowledge, Technology and Innovation and Farming Systems Ecology. The supervisors again were both very supportive and encouraging, and also well published scientists. This was inspiring through the thesis process. I was also working with Bioversity International and the research was based in Nicaragua, so it was also nice to learn about agricultural systems in other parts of the world.
The study environment is very intense and high pressure. They really like to challenge you. Overall I enjoyed this, it is why I came back to studying, but it can be quite stressful if you are not used to the pressure. My study days normally started with lectures at 8am and ran through to 5pm. There is often then additional reading / preparation of reports required somewhere in between! It is perhaps not the right choice for students looking for a relaxed schedule and plenty of time to explore and party…but it worked for me!
The campus is brand new and is a perfect environment in which to study. Quiet, climate controlled (does really help actually as the temperature is always good for thinking..!) and with lots of big windows to make it light and with views. The library is jam packed with fascinating books (you will never have time to read!)
I really loved Wageningen town – it is small and you are close to nature, the river, forest and marshes (and “the mountain” that Norwegians would certainly snigger at as it is barely a hill..!). There is lots of fun things happening – free events like street theatre, live music and festivals and lots of nice small bars. Again, not one for any students looking for crazy nightlife, but for me as a mature student it was perfect. I did a lot of cycling and exploring the local area when I had time. During the summer months we spent evenings on the river.
It is also a really international environment, over 50% of the masters students are international. I made friends with a lot of Latin Americans and Africans as well as students from other parts of Europe and the US. We shared a lot of dinners in which we were able to taste the cuisines of so many different places!
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to live and study in Europe. I feel more European identity, have more European friends and understand a little more in many of the contexts of different European countries. I think Erasmus+ is an amazing way for young people to learn about other parts of Europe. So thank you!