Why did you chose Communication and Innovation at Wageningen University & Research?
After the Bachelor’s programme, Environmental and Social Sciences in Utrecht, Juul decided to register for a Master's in Wageningen and opted for the Communication and Innovation specialisation of the Communication, Health and Life Sciences (MCH) Master's programme. Her main reason: she wanted to combine sustainability and the environment with communication. During her Bachelor’s, she became interested during a particular course in the best methods for stimulating people to make sustainable choices. Juul finds it interesting to investigate how to make a sustainable choice the easy choice. That's why Juul focused on behavioural change studies after her Bachelor’s. However, within those studies, she missed the link to the environment and sustainability.
During the Master's open day at Wageningen University and Research, Juul immediately got the feeling that this specialisation was a good fit. She believed she could perfectly combine communication sciences with her interest in the environment and sustainability here.
Communication and sustainability & environment
“While looking for a degree programme , I learned that you can always find something that excites you. In this study specifically, I found that to be even more pronounced because you have so much freedom to follow your own interests. And apply what you learn to that interest. I experienced this when selecting my life science and choosing my thesis subject. But it also shows in small ways: when you work on an assignment for a course, what kind of subject do you choose? There too, you are very free to choose the subject. You can then choose a subject within any Life Science, or perhaps even combine Life Sciences, such as sustainable food. I find that very valuable in this programme.”
Juul also notes that she can pursue exactly what she likes during the programme: “I find Wageningen very personal and flexible. They look at your wishes and desires. And these are often possible. If you discuss this well, the sky’s the limit and you can specifically pursue what you are interested in or just experiment and discover.”
In order to be admitted to MCH, Juul had to do a pre-Master for six months. During the pre-Master, you follow courses to gain the knowledge you need to be admitted. For Juul, that meant courses in the field of communication. Besides gaining the necessary knowledge in communication, Juul also got to know the university and people. Juul says, “it gave me a fantastic foundation for starting the Master’s”. After six months of courses, Juul started with the Master's.
How are the basic courses of the degree programme going at the moment?
Juul is currently working her way through the basic courses of the degree programme. During one of them, she and a group of fellow students are analysing a campaign by the Dutch government. The “everyone does something” campaign. Juul notes that the government is very cautious when asking its citizens to change. So, is this campaign working? Do you really have to be so careful and nuanced when communicating? Or would a decisive message work much better? Why has the government chosen the approach they have? Although it is a nice message, Juul wonders whether it will actually bring about a change in behaviour. During the course assignment, she started answering these questions.
During the Master’s programme, two life science courses must be selected. As a student, you have control over which life science you choose. Juul wanted to delve deeper into environment and sustainability and therefore chose the courses Environmental Psychology and Climate Adaptation in Water Systems. The life science courses are intended as an additional immersion on top of the communication-oriented courses. Juul would like to use communication as a ‘tool’ in environmental sciences and she sees communication as the key to a more sustainable society. Juul has enough examples showing how communication is key here. For instance, the nitrogen debate in the Netherlands. How are you going to handle the conversation between the different stakeholders? Juul finds this very interesting and important. What she sees happening is that farmers are being pitted against nature in this debate. “But in reality, the story is much more nuanced. Farmers in partnership with nature is the way to be future-proof. Here, communication is already very important.”
Fellow students of this Master’s may choose a different life science than you do yourself. Juul experiences this very positively: “it introduces greater depth to the conversations and discussions you have during lectures, because you talk to people who are looking at a problem or situation from different angles. This expands your vision. This is very valuable.”
What do you like the most during your studies?
“I got very excited about the course Facilitating Interactive Processes. During the course, I was introduced to a much more practical learning method than I was used to. I learned about learning by doing and about the fact that by having conversations with people while using the right techniques, you can make real progress.”
“I think I can contribute to a better world with this Master’s programme because it is a unique combination between communication and life sciences. After this programme, you will be able to work in the interface between communication and your chosen life science, and be very solution-oriented.”