Student - April 4, 2019

YOU on campus - ‘I want to work on something that changes more than just my own life.’

Anne van der Heijden

Sophia Oebel (26) from Germany started on the Food Technology MSc programme in September. ‘I was a bit obsessed with the Netherlands, I always wanted to come here.’

‘This week I am finally moving to Hoevestein’, says Sophia, who has lived in Ede for the past six months. ‘Hopefully, living in Wageningen will give me more time for hobbies and a social life. I would like to meet more people or do sports here but that is difficult now. Ede is too far to go home between a lecture and sports, which means I have to carry all my sports clothes around with me all day.’ 

Living in the Netherlands was something Sophia looked forward to, because she liked the people here. ‘I had visited the Netherlands twice before I moved here. People are more open-minded and easy-going than in Germany. At my old university, a lecturer announced we should forget about a private life and devote all our time to studying. Here the lecturer specifically said we should not forget to make time for fun activities because studying can be stressful. It is a different approach, more caring.’

I want to prove that it is economically feasible to be good for the world

Before moving abroad, Sophia lived together with her boyfriend, their two cats and their fish. ‘We were building an aquarium together, it was our mutual hobby. I see my boyfriend almost every weekend. Sometimes I go to Germany and sometimes he comes to Wageningen. Coming to Wageningen means he leaves our little zoo alone, which is sad. Taking care of the animals together was better because we could share the responsibility. This was one of my main doubts before I left for Wageningen.’

But she came anyway. ‘It was a great opportunity to do something I’m passionate about. It sounds strange to say that my study is my passion, but I care about sustainability. I want to work on something that changes more than just my own life. I want to prove that sustainability is not just a utopia, but that it is economically feasible to be good for the world. People don’t want to change because of convenience, so companies should start making sustainability standard.’