Studentenverhaal

"I have learned to approach problems from a broader perspective"

Yoseph Wakjira: “Studying the International Land & Water Management Master’s programme has been really nice and very relevant to me. I have learned to approach problems from a broader perspective, involving social aspects and management issues as well. We have seen and experienced many actual cases of land and water management involving issues from all continents which provide a valuable source of knowledge.”

During my masters I’ve learned a new type of research; much more practice oriented

“In my country – Ethiopia - irrigation schemes face major challenges, particularly from the management perspective. Investigation is needed to see how technical issues are related to social aspects and how to solve these problems. However, during my BSc programme in Irrigation Engineering in Ethiopia I was used to only focusing on the technical aspects. That’s why I wanted to enrol in this study programme in Wageningen which is known for its integrative perspective. So, I came to Wageningen University to further develop my knowledge and skills in water management.”

Study programme
“I am very enthusiastic about this programme. It is problem-oriented and multidimensional and I believe students develop the potential to take responsibility and take the lead in land and water projects. The programme is challenging, the timetable well organised and fully utilised for the study programme. One full year of course work and one year for developing practical skills in research and internship: two years well spent I think!”

Practical in Spain
“The practical in Land and Water Management in Spain at the end of the first year was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. We worked together in a mixed group of five students from different countries and with different backgrounds on an actual case in the region. It was challenging because we wanted to do extensive  research work in a short period. That required a good understanding of each other and a structured way of working in order to keep up with the work. Although we made a very ambitious proposal, we managed to succeed very well! This experience helps me when I now need to do an assignment in a short time or with a mixed group of people, since I’ve been in such an atmosphere before.”

Thesis
“I wrote my MSc thesis about the large-scale KOGA irrigation scheme in Ethiopia. I did field work for three months and completed my thesis afterwards. During my Master’s, I learned a new type of research I was not used to before: much more practice oriented. It’s the first time I’d been out in the field and did such kind of action research and spoke to the people involved. This was an extremely valuable experience for me: learning how to interview these people, communicate and make observations. Apart from the technical aspects, we learned to consider the value of the measurements that are supposed to be taken. In the irrigation sector, for instance, we provide irrigation schemes. But what’s behind it? What social, economic or political interests are involved? That’s what we need to know to design and manage schemes more effectively. I have been very well supervised during my thesis, which I very much appreciated. My supervisor from the Water Resources Management group followed my work step by step."

Internship
“Now I am doing my internship at Meta Meta, a consultancy in Land and Water Management in Wageningen. I have already completed several assignments. The first one was about materials and input for irrigation and water-saving technologies. Another assignment was about the irrigation area and expansion of irrigation technologies in Ethiopia. I also assessed irrigation deficiencies and future challenges of water use in that region. The results of my desk study will be used in Meta Meta’s projects.”

Life in Wageningen
“For me, it wasn’t difficult to find my way upon arrival. I just used the information provided by the university’s videos and guidelines. I also joined a community of African students (UCAS) which helped new students to get along. I started renting a room in Ede, but after one month I found a place in Wageningen, Bornsesteeg, which is close to the campus. The transportation system here is good, so it is easy for me to travel. I regularly met people from my country and other countries and we shared a lot of experiences. I had a wonderful time here!”