Water Management: Jessica about her studies
Why did you choose to study Water Management?
When I lived in Shanghai, I was exposed to air pollution, water pollution and more heavy environmental damage. My experience here inspired me to study something environmental friendly. Looking into different energy courses, sustainability studies etcetera, Water Management really stood out. The study is more detailed and specific then the other environmental sciences, which are more general and broad. I wanted a more in-depth education, so that is why I choose for Water Management.
At HZ you study Water Management. Can you explain what the programme entails?
Water Management is not just about the management of water. The study entails so much. It is about ecosystems, water treatments, agriculture, ecological risks, salt intrusion, water pollution and even safety and risk.
You are now in your third year in which you can choose a minor. Can you tell something about that?
For the minor you can go abroad for a semester and just go on an adventure. I am going in a few weeks to South-Korea. I love Asia and the culture. I love Korean food and I am obsessed with Korean music! So yeah, you can definitely say I am really excited to go. Even though I am following several courses there for my minor, I am mainly going for South-Korea itself. If you are giving the opportunity to live somewhere else for a while, why not choose a country you always wanted to go and experience.
What do you find the most interesting part about your studies?
For me the most interesting subject is wastewater treatments. I find it fascinated how dirty water can become clean again. There are so many different processes you can use to clean water and discharge it again into the environment. I find all the different options and methods very intriguing. It is very chemical and technological based. And perhaps it is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I really do enjoy it.
Is that something you would like a carrier in?
Yeah for sure. Currently my internship is on wastewater treatment too, since there lies my interest. After my bachelor, I would like to do a master on water technology and specialise myself further in this field. Eventually I would love to have a carrier in water treatment.
You are also in the Honours Programme. Why did you apply?
Actually I did not know about the Honours Programme until one day a teacher said to me I should apply for it. She gave me all the information about what it was and then I was like: ‘sure why not’. And I got in.
For the Honours Programme you work on a project. What is yours about?
Our project is about sustainable fashion. With our project, in the form of a documentary, we want to create awareness. The fast fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world and many people just does not seem to know about it of care to much about it. Many brands are still constantly putting out new collections, so that people keep on buying new clothes. And let’s be honest: there is no way that a 5 euro t-shirt payed all of its workers fairly. You need 80 people to manufacture one t-shirt. How does 5 euro’s validate the payment of all these people on one piece of clothing?
Thankfully there are alternatives, such as reusing ‘old’ clothes, swapping clothes and recycling clothes. We really got interested in the chain, and also production and selling of the sustainable fashion industry. With our documentary we want to show an alternative pathway you can choose.
What kind of students should apply for the Honours Programme?
I believe the Honours Programme is especially interesting for students who are ambitious and want to get more out of their studies. And also, whom have the time to do it. Time management is namely an issue. It is a high mountain you need to climb, but you will have a great experience.
You are one of our international students. Why did you choose to study in the Netherlands at HZ?
The Dutch have an unique expertise when it comes to water and water management. The entire world knows about the dikes and that the Netherlands has been fighting against water forever. Therefor I really wanted to study Water Management in the Netherlands. The choice for HZ was easy, since HZ is one of the few that offer this study in the Netherlands.
How was it for you to move to Vlissingen in the Netherlands?
Well, for me it was not hard to move to Vlissingen. I am half German and half Myanmars. I grew up in Belgium and lived in a lot of different places. For example, I lived in China and Australia as well. So, I am used to moving around. I was also ready for to move to another country and not scared or anything. Still it was quite a shock when I first arrived in Vlissingen, but in a good way.
Can you elaborate?
The city was way smaller then I imagined. But to be fair, I did not do a lot of research about Vlissingen of Zeeland for that matter. I just applied to HZ, got accepted and packed my bags. But I always say: ‘it does not matter where you live, as long as the study programme is good’.
How do you like living in Vlissingen?
There is no other place like Vlissingen. It is very cute and comfortable. What is really cool about Vlissingen is that the international students dominate the town. Most international students from HZ live here or in Middelburg. And we all want to do something together. From pizza nights, to going to the cinema or just hanging out and do boardgames: every weekend there is something happening in the international community. And let’s not forget the parties.
Do you have any advice for future (international) students?
Be true to who you are and don’t listen to expectations. You should do something that makes you happy and what you can see yourself doing in the future. I was always interesting in nature and the environment side, so I knew I am not a business type or future psychologist.