Some time has past since I wrote my last update for wurldexplorers, but I'm still alive! In the meantime, I had some nice Christmas holidays in the Swiss snow, started my experimental trials after a long period of planning and method development, and went back to the Netherlands already 2 times (gaining some frequent flying bonus points there!).
Being with family during Christmas was absolutely fabulous. I really enjoyed the gezellige ("cosy") dinners with them (incl. the dog, although she didn't joined the table, off course) and the kilometres we've made on the snowy slopes.
After the nice break, work was on again: as part of my thesis/internship I started a series of 71 experiments that take 5 hours per trial - a decent Design of Experiments, which was planned and developed before Christmas and in cooperation with the statistic experts of the company. They helped me with building a solid experimental plan that will gain the most of the knowledge that was possible to get out of the research project. Although these days of experiments are quite long, I really enjoy working on them in both the pilot plant and the analytical lab. Last week I hit the 50% of the total trial number, so we're over the hill, hooray! For this I couldn't think of a better phrase than "keep calm and carry on"!
As part of my study programme (European master in food studies), the participating students (21 in total) run a team project besides their courses and internship/thesis work. Two groups work on separate projects which are basically aimed to develop a new product. As in September (2014), we gathered all together in Wageningen last January to discuss the progress of the projects with our university supervisors. The logistics for these meetings shouldn't be underestimated, as all team members are scattered over Europe for their internships. Besides the work that wad done during those team meetings, it was also very nice just to see each other again (in real, rather than on Skype), and have some catch-ups with people to hear about their experiences. For now we've to work via Skype until June, when we will all be back in Wageningen to work full time on our projects and finish them before the graduation day in July. Working via Skype can sometimes be quite challenging as internet connections aren't always as they should be and discussing an important (or hard) topic via teleconference is really different than face-to-face discussions. Anyways, all this will add to our broader experiences that we learn and take with us during this master programme.
The other time in the new year that I went back to the Netherlands was to celebrate my brother's graduation. He finished his medicine study in Groningen, where we had a drink with lots of friends. For those who want to visit the largest city of the northern part of the Netherlands, I can really recommend to get on the train and check it out! The city itself is not too big (although way bigger than Wageningen) and is full of nice little shops, bars, restaurants, and clubs! I really love the atmosphere over there. A few hours of sleep after the party, we headed back to my hometown and then to Schiphol airport to make my way back to the wonderful world of chocolate in Birmingham!
I shortly come back to you guys with some new updates of uk city trips, as the cities York and Oxford are next on the list!