Sebastian Castaño Osorio
From near to Cali, Colombia
“Wetsus is a special place full of diversity. So many people you get along with, but also room to explore new things. Not just academic as it is multi-disciplinary, but socially it’s a flavorful place.”
I did my bachelor’s degree in Manizales, in my home-country Colombia. There, it takes five years to get your degree – in chemical engineering for me. Already then, I focused my last year on sanitation, so I knew I wanted to get into water. I also wanted to study abroad. That is why I chose to do the master’s water technology – Wetsus Academy – in the Netherlands.
I did not really look for a PhD, but when a position became available on the topic of my thesis, I knew I would enjoy a PhD on it as well and applied.
Interesting. There are always to sides to anything. I think the project is enjoyable, the progress you make on it and in yourself too. But doing research can be difficult and frustrating as well, especially if you have high expectations. But the only way to become an expert is by making many mistakes and learning. But it is a grateful job.
And Wetsus is a special place full of diversity. So many people you get along with, but also room to explore new things. Not just academic as it is multi-disciplinary, but socially it’s a flavorful place.
The mix of people and disciplines. It’s not about constant contact with all field, but every day you get a hint of all different things people do at Wetsus. Inspiration – such as every week at the lunch presentation where two researchers come to talk about their work.
But I think of the international nature of Wetsus too. It is a unique place – local yet international and also very European connected.
It certainly already enriched my skills, grown confidence in it too. I don’t think I want to stay in academia. For now. But in water technology, for sure. It is hard to predict in more details.
One day during a “stretching” session in the office with my officemates my pants ripped when I was trying to stretch my legs. Thankfully, it was already late in the evening so not many people were in the building and I could just go home.
You can easily adapt here in the Netherlands. And with so many people speaking English, a good start is easy here. Quality of life is a plus. The way that PhDs are organized here are great too. You don’t have to find the funding and there are so many resources.
But the food on the contrary is a bit of a discussion point. Always among expats. And because people here tend to speak English to you, it can be hard to learn the language.
Find a topic that you like – it makes the difference in stormy weather. And don’t be afraid to do it. You will learn a lot about the research and about yourself too.