Relaxation easy in Wageningen
Few would dispute that following an MSc programme in Wageningen is hard work. All the more reason to take regular breaks and participate in active forms of recreation. It seems that international students are not bad at doing this, and some even find it easier to relax here than in their home countries
It's more or less the same as in Uruguay. Here, I also go out to the cinema, the gym, the pub or visit friends, says Virginia Dapueto cheerfully. Of course the amount of leisure time I have depends on my study schedule and whether I have examinations or not. My study is hard work but not impossible. According to Dapueto there is not much difference between how she spends her leisure time here and what she does in Uruguay, as the cultural differences are not that big. Most of her friends here are from other Latin American countries, and Italy and Spain. The other activity which takes up Dapueto's leisure time is going to church. It doesn't matter to her that mass is said in Dutch: Mass is the same everywhere in the world. The major difference is the fact that the Catholic Church in Wageningen is only open during services, and not all day long like it is in Uruguay. That means that even if you only want to go and pray you have to attend a service.
Daya Mudiyanselage from Sri Lanka finds it more difficult to find time to relax. I am usually in the library up until ten in the evening, reading, studying and preparing the lectures for the following day. Nevertheless Mudiyanselage does get together with other people from her country. She did need extra time to adjust to the Dutch climate, however. The cold wet weather of the past winter months did not help her health or mood
Mudiyanselage is not the only one to have suffered from the Dutch winter. Many other students I spoke to on the telephone were suffering from sneezing bouts and runny noses, at least, until James Oppong answered the phone: It is easier to relax in Wageningen than in Ghana, where I come from. After leaving university I still had lots of time for sports like football, running and swimming. Now I have a family and a job in Ghana. That leaves him little spare time. His salary is also fairly low so he also works outside his official working hours to supplement his income. He also has a vegetable garden and poultry to look after
In Wageningen Oppong spends most of his leisure time with friends: I have friends from all over the place: Ghana, Ethiopia and Holland. Yet Oppong seems unable to give up working in his leisure time. He is very interested in how poultry and dairy farming are organized in the Netherlands. Poultry farmers in Ghana are dependent on the Netherlands for veterinary medicines and also for the fish which is used in processed poultry feed. Oppong hopes to visit some Dutch dairy and poultry farms in April once he has some more time. Academic work is important but I am also very curious about how agriculture works in practice here.
Patricia Silva also finds it easier to fill her leisure time in Wageningen than in her native Portugal. There she still lives at home with her parents. Here, the fact that she lives in a student flat contributes to her feeling of freedom, since she can allocate her time as she wishes without her parents breathing down her neck
Vivek Singh is also happy with student life in Wageningen, and feels lucky that he has landed in a good corridor. Singh goes out to the pub, the cinema, plays indoor soccer once a week, the occasional game of basketball and watches a lot of movies on television: I sometimes watch the BBC, but mainly the Dutch channels Veronica and SBS6, of course only for English language films. Singh also finds it easier to enjoy his leisure time in Wageningen than in India. The academic culture there is far more competitive, as is the sports culture. I played cricket for my university at national level. This can also be useful for your academic study. Perhaps that is why Singh prefers not to play in an organized soccer team here in Wageningen, but occasionally turns up at the sports centre on the off chance. On the other hand, he is missing cricket and admits that he has the telephone number of a club in Wageningen in his pocket
African universities need crisis management
Teach the students in such a way that they gain the intellectual capacities and the strength of character to cope effectively with difficult situations. These were the words of President Chiluba of Zambia at the general assembly of the association of African universities (AAU), held 13 - 18 January in Lusaka, Zambia. According to a Nuffic report on the general assembly, President Chiluba's statement is an important challenge for African universities in the future. Many institutions for higher education in Africa are undergoing a severe crisis. The AAU, of which most African universities are member, is also an important channel for Northern institutions and donors seeking cooperation and the establishment of development programmes. The latter have been advising African institutions to take management issues in hand and to define priorities and develop strategic plans. If this takes place the donors will then be prepared to provide tailor-made support
According to Dorothy Njeuma, Rector of the University of Buea in Cameroon, this reasoning is too simple. She argues that the higher education system in Africa is experiencing a multiple crisis. The general economic crisis from which many countries are suffering leads to unpredictable developments, which makes planning impossible. Furthermore, a social crisis hits both students and staff. A political crisis, causing instability and struggle between political parties, is often fought out on university campuses. According to Njeuma, this combination results in a crisis in quality: A rector has to play a balancing game to get his/her institution to remain afloat. Crisis management to raise crisis managers in the coming decade is for many African universities already quite ambitious.
International prize for Uruguayan graduate
The International Foundation for Science/King Baudouin Award has been conferred upon WAU graduate Ana Terzaghi for her PhD research thesis on soil management improvements in Paysandu, Uruguay. She obtained her PhD degree at WAU in November 1996
The Swedish based International Foundation for Science (IFS) invests in young academics in the Third World. IFS gives the award to researchers from developing countries who, using funds provided by IFS, submit reports of exceptional merit. By doing so, the IFS aims at encouraging developing countries to build up their own scientific community adapted to local needs. In Terzaghi's case, the IFS provided funds to install a laboratory in Paysandu, where she carried out part of her field and laboratory research. The other part was done at the Department of Soil Tillage in Wageningen
Terzaghi obtained an MSc degree from the Soil & Water programme in 1983. In 1990 she started her PhD research at WAU with a sandwich fellowship. Terzaghi came up with concrete recommendations for the management of the soils in Paysandu, West Uruguay. She studied the relation between soil management and changes in the physical properties of the soil and used the information to determine the degree to which these changes increase susceptibility to rainfall erosion