My name is Amée van Haeften and I am currently at the end of my bachelor of Food Technology.
I remember very well why I decided to study Food Technology. For me, the most important part of this decision was that I liked food, cooking and health a lot. At first, I went to look at the study “Nutrition and Health” (also at WUR), but I felt like I wanted a more technological study. A friend of mine recommended me to go see Food Technology and after visiting the Open Day, I was immediately very excited to study Food Technology, as it combines chemistry, physics, and food!
Could you tell us something about your study programme?
"The first two years of the bachelor consists of fixed courses, but in your third year, you can choose your own courses in a minor. For me, this minor seemed like the perfect time to study abroad for a while. In the first semester, my plan was to go on an Erasmus exchange to Helsinki in Finland. I was very excited to go, but due to corona this got postponed to the second semester and in the end, it got cancelled completely. Because it got postponed to the second semester, I decided to conduct my bachelor thesis at the beginning of my third year."
Which part of your study did you find the most interesting?
"The topic of my bachelor thesis was something which I found very exciting: Food for Mood and Cognition at the chair group of Food Quality and Design. The topic of my thesis was completely different from what I had learned in my two years of Food Technology, and it showed me that a lot more is possible with this study than developing new food products. In the thesis, I set up a consumer study to investigate the effect of the amino acid tryptophan on mood and cognition. My experiment took three weeks in which thirty participants came to eat breakfast and perform mood and cognition tests. After the experiment, I analyzed the data and wrote the report. This report writing was not completely new to me, as certain courses in the bachelor (such as Food Chemistry and Case Studies) prepare you for this."
How have you arranged it to fit your interests (e.g. theses, internships, major, minor)?
"After my bachelor thesis was completed, I started with my minor. Although I could not go abroad, I could have gone to another university in the Netherlands to take courses. This is a very nice example of collaborations between universities in the Netherlands. For me personally, the courses at the WUR seemed nice, so I decided to stay in Wageningen to set-up my own minor. Not choosing a fixed minor gave me the ability to only take courses which I was really interested in. At a certain point in my minor, I remembered how much I had liked my thesis and when I could not find interesting courses for the final period, my study advisor recommended me to look for an internship.
A bachelor internship is something which you need to arrange by yourself completely, as this is also part of the learning progress of the internship. At first, it was difficult to find something. However, it is important not to let this stop you from trying, because the internship is totally worth the struggle of finding one. Also, the internship coordinators are very helpful and teachers are willing to help and guide you a lot! My internship is at Friesland Campina in Wageningen, where I help setting up a consumer study. I find this internship a very valuable experience, as in my opinion the 'real food technology' world differs a lot from the university."
Which courses did you like best?
"Personally, I have liked a lot of the courses of the bachelor. Therefore, I did not want to do a very specific master as for example Dairy Science. In my master, I am planning to study the specialization Food Ingredient Functionality, in which I want to take courses of the chair groups Food Chemistry and Food Quality and Design. I am currently doubting to do a second specialization, which would be “Food Digestion and Health”, as the health aspect of food still interests me. Another option would be to take some extra time in my master to do an Erasmus minor abroad. I find both plans very exciting and therefore, the choice is hard. Luckily, this decision can still be made when I am in my master, so there is no need to worry about this now!"
What do you do besides studying?
"Besides studying, I am also active as a member of the rowing association W.S.R. Argo, which I joined in my first year. In my second year of the bachelor, I rowed very often and combining this with my study meant working a bit harder, but it was perfectly doable. Currently, due to corona, I am a little less active, but next year I will definitely visit many of the nice activities Argo has to offer. Doing something besides your study is really fun, as it is a nice contribution to your experience of being a student! Whether this is joining a student association, a sports club or by becoming an active member at the Food Technology study association Nicolas Appert, all is possible and it is highly recommended. Wageningen might be small, but being a student in this small city is a lot of fun!"