Student - December 17, 2014

Out of the box - Going abroad as a student

Sick of rainy old Holland? Want to see more of the world, or looking for a way of meeting other people and cultures? Wageningen offers various options for a spell abroad. Resource lines them up for you.


If you fancy a longer period (3 to 12 months) in a European country you can go for the Erasmus+ exchange programme. You can make use of this twice during your studies, once to take courses and once to do an internship. You even get an allowance: between 150 and 270 euros a month for studying and between 270 and 390 a month for an internship. Conditions include speaking the language and amassing sufficient study points during your stay. Be aware of what you are embarking on: a recent EU study showed that one in four Erasmus students find their future partner during their stay abroad. This is thought to have led to a million Erasmus babies already.



Master’s students can opt to do their thesis or internship abroad. This is a great chance to get experience and to prove can do independent research. You do have to organize everything yourself, though, and it is all at your own expense too. It is usually easiest to join projects set up by PhD students, but even then you usually have to pay your own air fare. There are some funds that will help you out with the expenses. For an overview of all the funds and the conditions, see http://goo. gl/OOf70R. Personal contacts are very important too. You are well- advised to start looking early, as the number of opportunities available is limited.



For several years now, PhD student Iris de Winter at the Re- source Ecology Group (REG) has been organizing trips to Africa in February and in the summer vacation. These trips go to several southern African countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. On these ‘student safaris’ you learn all about nature, various species of plants and animals, adaptation and nature conservation. The costs are quite high at between 1500 and 2000 euros for three weeks, excluding flights, but you can apply for 3 ECTS for the trip. Students from all degree programmes, and even from other universities, are welcome. For more information see the website Student societies, too, sometimes organize summer excursions abroad, which are partly educational. Biologica does so every other year, to a different destination every time. The next trip will be in 2015, but the destination has not been announced. The costs will be about 600 euros.



Sometimes a trip abroad just falls into your lap, For some courses you go abroad for a week or more, perhaps to learn about the flora or fauna there or to make comparisons with the Netherlands. Examples are The Biology of Invertebrates and Lower Plants (two weeks on the French coast), Webs of Terrestrial Diversity (two weeks in the Pyrenees) and Field Training land atmosphere Interactions (two weeks in Spain). The costs are reasonable, usually a contribution of between 100 and 250 euros.



For sporty students, too, there are quite a lot of cheap options. Many sports associations organize regular trips abroad of a few days related to the sport concerned. One example is Ibex, Wageningen’s climbing club, which organizes regular climbing weekends in Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg or France. There are also surfing weekends, kayaking weekends and cross-country skiing week- ends. Another opportunity for a quick sporty trip abroad is the winter sports week organized by Thymos during the resits week at the beginning of February. Many student societies organize their own winter sports trips.

/Nicole Janssen