I am Adrià, I am 25 years old and I am from Barcelona, where I studied my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences. After that, I moved to Wageningen to start the master’s degree in Earth and Environment, from which I just graduated.
How did you choose this master’s programme?
Choosing the master's programme was neither easy nor a short story. I did not have a strong determination to go abroad for my master's, but it had always been in my mind. When a very close friend with whom I studied before told me she was going to study the MSc Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University, I also decided to have a quick look. At a first glance the MSc Climate Studies looked great. However, I got confused about what to do when I had more time to explore programmes and discovered the MSc Earth and Environment. If not complicated enough, the MSc Climate Physics from Utrecht University was also an option I was considering.
Making a decision took me a few talks and emails with current and former students, study advisors and a Wageningen professor (Jordi Vilà) who is also from Barcelona. I then decided MEE was the perfect programme for me, because it is focused on the environment from a technical and applied point of view.
Could you tell us something about your study programme?
Shaping my own programme was easy because there is a lot of freedom to choose courses. Moreover, the University arranges a lot of talks about how to define your own programme, the study advisors are always willing and available to help, and the information on the website is very clear. The programme is very broad and diverse, with four quite different specializations. Even within one specialization, as it is the case in hydrology, you can find several different paths (catchment hydrology, ecohydrology, groundwater modelling, fluid mechanics, etc.). For the thesis, teachers usually share their available positions and ideas during courses, but you are also free to create your own topic if it matches the interest of a chair group and the programme. Finally, the internship is a good opportunity to explore the world out there and find out what type of job you would like to have in the future.
Which part of your study did you find the most interesting?
I enjoyed doing my thesis about snow depth and climate change the most. I was always enthusiastic and curious about getting new results and discussing them with my supervisors. Already halfway through the thesis, my supervisors started mentioning that we could try to publish the research, and I got very thrilled about it. I kept working hard, and after receiving a 9 for the thesis, we started adapting the work for publication. In the meantime, the abstract of my thesis was accepted for an oral presentation at an international conference in Budapest. I went to Hungary to present my research in front of around 200 people. It was a great challenge and an unforgettable experience. My thesis was finally accepted in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a top international journal! To my surprise, a few days later, several (at least 14) national and international media published news about it.
What do you do besides studying?
My main interest during my whole life has been football. In Wageningen, I joined The Student Football Club (GVC). It was my extra-curricular activity 3 times per week, including two trainings during the week and a weekend match in the official Dutch competition. I got to know every single tiny village around Wageningen by going there to play football. I was really impressed that villages with 1,000 inhabitants had at least two football teams. It seems like everyone plays football in The Netherlands! Besides playing, I used to be a football referee in Catalonia, so I decided to also try in The Netherlands. This way I learned my first Dutch word, when during my first game as referee everyone started shouting at me “scheeeeeeeeids!” (“ref” in Dutch).
What do you think about the student life in Wageningen?
Although not everyone would agree with me, student life in Wageningen is great. I like that it is surrounded by nature areas (the Uiterwaarden, the Grebbeberg, the Wageningsche berg, the Arboretum, the Blauwe kamer), where you can go for a walk or a run and relax from your study. In winter, you might even be able to play with snow or to ice-skate, and in summer you can swim in the river Rhine. If the weather is nice, you will find the market square full of people on Saturdays, and you can enjoy a drink or a lunch on the terraces of the cafés. It is true, however, that night life is almost inexistent, but there are many house parties instead, which I find very “gezellig” (as the Dutch would say), and you always end up having nice plans with your friends. In Wageningen I made many very good friends that I know I will keep forever.