An exchange semester comes with a lot of adjustments. A new campus, new lecturers, a new way of learning and new friends. Resource asked some exchange students at Wageningen University & Research what they miss about their home university and what they will miss about Wageningen once they go home.
text Madhura Rao illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek
Emelie Perrson, Master’s student of Agricultural economics and management from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala
‘What I miss most about my home university is the student union we have. They work on everything from supporting the students at the university to arranging dinners and parties. At the union we have lots of traditions that we celebrate during the year and since it is a small university the union is also like a family. Everyone gets to know each other.
When I go back I think I will miss the international atmosphere we have here in Wageningen. Uppsala also has international students, but not in the same proportion. To make friends from all over the world is a great opportunity. I will also miss Wageningen’s great campus and the system with study weeks, which we don’t have in Sweden.’
Jozef Nijeholt, Bachelor’s student of Human geography, urban and regional planning from the University of Amsterdam
‘Quite honestly I'm not very satisfied with my home university. That is one of the reasons I took some courses at a different university. However, I do miss my friends. Usually I bump into them after class or when I am studying. Because the University of Amsterdam is mainly located in the city centre, I also miss studying in the most beautiful part of my home town.
However, I really like the courses here and because of that I feel like I learn a lot more in Wageningen. Also, the way students are treated in Wageningen is a lot nicer. Teachers are more easy-going and approachable. My home university sometimes feels like a big factory, while Wageningen University has more of an individual approach.’
Nathalie Unsen, Master’s student of Food safety from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
‘My study program at my home university is really small. I know almost all of my study colleagues and really appreciate this familiar atmosphere in the classes. At WUR, there are a lot more students in the classes, at least the ones I am taking, and therefore the atmosphere is more anonymous.
I think I’ll miss the campus of WUR the most. The main campus of my university is really nice but unfortunately my department is in another part of the city. Here, I am mostly in Forum and Orion. I like that the buildings are designed with so much open space. Depending on where you are, you have a great view of the outside and of the pond.’
Brechje Oonk, Bachelor’s student of Public health from Leiden University College, The Hague
‘I'm used to having smaller classes. Naturally, they tend to be more discussion based. Sometimes during lectures here, I wish we had a bit more time to talk about the topics together. There are so many people with different backgrounds, we can really learn from each other. However, it is amazing to see people discuss what they have learned during the break so it makes up for the lack of opportunity in class.
I really love the practical approach to real life problems in the courses I'm taking here. We've had many guest lecturers from the field who talk about their own experiences. This gives a unique insight into the issues we are looking at. Seeing someone who has studied the same things as me and now is out in the world solving problems is a great motivator to work hard! I will definitely miss that when I go back.’
Sharon Varughese, Bachelorstudent Environmental leadership and pollution biology aan The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
‘What I miss most from my student life in Norway is the university's small seminars and group classes. We don’t just have lectures like here, but could also attend small group classes where the professor, a PhD student or a student who has taken the same class before helps us with more specific questions. In those classes we can discuss and learn more.
I believe what I’ll miss most when I go back is the atmosphere at this university. Personally, I like the lectures and the professors. I like how international WUR is. I also like the fact that there is a sports centre here. What I will miss the most in my studies is the group work. Back at home we do have group labs, but we need to write reports individually. Here we do the projects as a group to the end, which is really fun.’
Lucie Aragon, Master’s student of Organic agriculture from the University of Bordeaux
‘What I miss the most, besides my family and friends, is rock ‘n’ roll dance lessons and parties, the mountains and hiking. Also, with the Wageningen study system with periods and the large amount of work, it gets lonely sometimes. At my home university I’m with the same people all day.
But this semester here at WUR has also shown me how different and good another university with a bigger and better organization can be. Everything seems so simple. The lectures are concrete, with various very interesting lecturers. We have access to so many computers, rooms and other stuff. There is also a great support system in the university with student societies, events, conferences and workshops. I am happy to be part of it, and will for sure miss the life in this place.’’