In the National Student Survey, Wageningen University has earned the highest scores across the board from its students. But what are the views of students who used to attend other universities? We asked six students who transferred. Their opinions vary depending on the category. The lecturers and campus are great, but the night life? ‘Being thrown out of a cafe at 10 p.m. is something that would never happen in Delft.’
The students can’t help but notice that the university is a smooth-running organization. ‘The campus here is very clear,’ says Merije, ‘communication is good and students have a lot of interaction with lecturers. But to my mind there are not many rooms available for private study. Without a reservation, there is little hope of finding a quiet spot.’ According to Magali, ‘The courses here are highly structured, so you know what you have to learn. I like the group work too. It enables you to learn a lot, including skills that I think will be useful in finding a job.’ Maxwell thinks the organization is better than in Delft .‘The schedules are easier to find here and it is really clear when and where you need to be somewhere. The atmosphere is less competitive than in Delft. For the rest, you have more contact hours per day and there are more compulsory activities.’
‘I think the supervision here is good,’ says Magali. ‘In practicals there’s no shortage of lecturers to answer your questions. What’s more, it’s nice that the staff are always approachable, even during holidays. Jeroen too has high praise for the supervision in Wageningen. ‘There is a lot of high-quality supervision here. The professors teach the material well and with enthusiasm.’ But in his opinion it was easier to speak to the professors in Amsterdam. They all sat together in one building and their doors were always open. They always had time. In Wageningen the professors have their offices in other buildings so you have to send an email first. That makes them less approachable. On the other hand, Maxwell thinks the professors here are more approachable than in Delft.
The advantage of Wageningen is that you always live close to the centre because Wageningen is so small, thinks Charlotte. Conversely, she thinks that you become bored with the city more quickly. Jarst: ‘The students bring Wageningen alive, while Nijmegen is more lively of its own accord, and has more cultural activities.’ Jeroen: ‘In Amsterdam, with all the city’s venues and museums, it is easier to do your own thing.’ Most panel participants also mention the university’s accessibility by public transport as a negative point. Jeroen: ‘On the other hand, Wageningen is very green. It is totally normal here to keep chickens and have a vegetable patch. Maxwell: ‘What I love about Wageningen is its beautiful environment and all the nature that surrounds the city. It’s nice to have, but it is also really useful if you are studying biology and are interested in ecology’.
Although a relatively large proportion of Wageningen’s students rent rooms, there’s a plentiful supply, the panel thinks. ‘I didn’t find it very difficult to find a room here,’ says Jeroen. ‘That’s really different from Amsterdam where it was difficult to find accommodation. Certainly if you wanted a good room.’ What strikes Maxwell is the difference between Idealis and DUWO (the housing agency in Delft). ‘At DUWO you always choose your own housemates; Idealis simply places you with other students.’
What many students notice immediately in Wageningen is the university’s international nature. Magali, Jeroen, Jarst and Maxwell all mention this as an advantage of Wageningen. Magali: ‘You get to know many foreign students so you find out about life in other countries and you become more receptive to other ideas.’ Jeroen actually lives in an international flat. ‘You hear a lot of different languages spoken in my flat. That’s a whole new positive experience.’
The difference between the night life in Wageningen and in other student cities is massive. ‘One Sunday we were thrown out of a cafe on the market square at 10 p.m. That would never happen in Delft,’ says Maxwell. Wageningen’s night life is limited mostly to Thursdays, while in other student cities there’s something to do almost every night of the week. Charlotte, Jarst, Jeroen and Maxwell all complain about this at length. Jeroen: ‘Some days Wageningen is empty. Thursday evening is the only night there’s really something to do. It is certainly different in Amsterdam’. Charlotte: ‘You’re less likely to just go down the pub here than in Enschede. In Wageningen you go out mainly when there’s a party on.’ Maxwell agrees whole-heartedly. ‘Delft has a really sociable city centre. Every night there’s a cafe open and people are out on the street.’ Jeroen says that you are almost compelled to join a society if you want some night life. ‘Because the main place you’ll find entertainment is in the student societies.'
Text: Nicole Janssen / illustrations: Henk van Ruitenbeek
Magali Frauendorf - Master bos en natuurbeheer. Voorheen: wildlife management in Leeuwarden.
Maxwell Chesal - Bachelor biologie. Voorheen: bouwkunde in Delft.
Jeroen Schütt - Master Biological sciences en general Biology. Voorheen: Biologie aan de UvA.
Charolotte Wouters - Master Health and Society. Voorheen: bachelor gezondheidswetenschappen in Enschede.
Merije van Rookhuijzen - Master Health and Society. Voorheen: Psychologie Radboud Universiteit.
Jarst van Belle - Master plant Sciences. Voorheen: Biologie aan de Radboud Universiteit in