Student - May 24, 2012

California Dreaming

Text:
Suzanne Overbeek

Who? Roos Nijman, Master's student of Food Technology
What? Master's thesis on oligosaccharides in breast milk and formula
Where? University of California, Davis

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photo: .

Davis is not big but there are lots of students, many of them international, and it is great socially. There is something going on every night: a pub quiz, a barbecue, a potluck supper, going nightclubbing downtown, a hot tub party, a fraternity party or a house party. At the parties you drink jungle juice (all the spirits you can get hold of mixed with brightly coloured, extremely sweet squash) in a red plastic cup - just like in the American Pie films. Luckily working hours at the lab were very flexible so I could sometimes have a bit of a lie-in.
My Master's thesis is about the difference between breast milk and formula, with a focus on the components that are crucial for the baby's health. At the start I worked flat out from nine to six and got a lot of results. In the last couple of months I realized that I could take it a bit easier. I have been to several National Parks and to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. The rock formations in the Grand Canyon, the plains of Death Valley and Joshua Tree, the valleys of Yosemite and Zion, the tall trees in the Red Woods - all these are stunning natural wonders of the world. One week I went snowboarding in the mountains and the next weekend I was walking through the desert where it was 28 degrees Celsius.
Americans are very easy-going and people will just start talking to you on the street to pay you a compliment. They are cheerful and interested in you - really nice! In the shops that are open at night people walk around in pyjamas or tracksuits and it's quite normal for the chirpy cashier to have a long chat with you about your studies. If you go to America for an internship, do try to combine work with pleasure. Go on as many outings as you can and above all, enjoy all the beauty this country has to offer.

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