Wetenschap - 22 maart 2001

How do foreign women fill their days?

How do foreign women fill their days?

When a scientist gets the opportunity to go abroad and widen his or her horizon in the field of study, the family of the scientist sometimes comes along. Although not always the case, often it is the wife who accompanies the husband scientist.

While her husband is having the time of his life talking shop with Dutch colleagues, the wife remains in her new home and has to get accustomed to all sorts of bewildering foreign things: language, customs, schools, shops etc. For many women this is not an easy situation, especially when they do not speak much English, let alone Dutch. Even for visiting female scientists it is difficult to get to know about the Dutch way of life, as they are occupied during the daytime.

The Union of Women Volunteers (UVV) in Wageningen tries to make things easier for foreign women. They organise a monthly meeting or activity for women only. Transport can be arranged and the meetings are free of charge. It is also possible to join Dutch classes as well as cooking classes. On signing up you receive a monthly letter from UVV with information about the planned activities.

The organising committee of eight women will help in any way they can. However, at present there are very few women who attend the UVV activities, and the committee is wondering what is behind this lack of interest.

Quilting

Last Wednesday Carolyn Hamaker, an American committee member who has lived in the Netherlands for many years, gave a very beautiful and interesting exhibition of her quilting products. She teaches quilting techniques and the women who took part that evening were given the chance to make a small sample themselves. Of the six women attending the evening, only one was connected with Wageningen UR: Professor Nanmova of the Komarov Botanical Institute, in St Petersburg. She is on a joint NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) research project between Wageningen and St Petersburg. She enjoyed the class very much and regrets the lack of interest from others so far.

The mix of nationalities, last week Belarus, Mexican, Croatian and Dominican as well as Dutch, makes these meetings fascinating and absolutely worthwhile. The Wisp'r also welcomes comments and opinions on the subject of women's programmes in Wageningen. | L.W.

For information on UVV call Francoise Oomen, 0317-470554. For Dutch lessons call Carolyn Hamaker, 0318-419154. For Dutch cookery lessons call Desir?e Groot, 0317-416601 or Georgina Laane, 0317-425023.

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