26 years old
‘Doing a PhD improves my ability of critical thinking and problem-solving.’
I am from China. I did my bachelor in China on Water Supply and Sewage Engineering, then I came to the Netherlands and finished my master at Wetsus Academy on Water Technology (joint degree from Wageningen University, University of Groningen, and University of Twente).
It was actually an easy decision for me. During my master, I worked at Wetsus on two projects similar to what I am working on now. I liked what I was working on, and I liked working at Wetsus, so I immediately decided to apply for this PhD position.
There were ups and downs. I am grateful that I can always find someone at Wetsus, my friends and even my supervisors, to share my happiness at ups and pull me up at downs.
I think it is the opportunity to make connections. Wetsus puts researchers from different universities under the same roof, so it is like a hub of many research groups. This makes it very convenient for knowledge exchange and collaboration. In addition, Wetsus also has strong connections with various companies, so it is also easy for PhD researchers to make connections with industries in the field.
First of all, doing a PhD improves my ability of critical thinking and problem-solving. Besides, as I said in the previous question, all these connections I can make at Wetsus, both in academia and in industry, will be one of my biggest fortunes for my future career. Last but not least, Wetsus has a series of personal development courses which helped me get to know myself better and acquires useful skills.
I have heard more than 10 different ways of pronouncing my name. We have colleagues from a variety of countries and cultures. My name is rather difficult to pronounce for non-Chinese, so there are lots of different pronunciations of my name with different accents.
The Netherlands is very friendly for expats. I am always amazed by how fast Dutch people can switch from Dutch to English. In terms of doing research, I can always discuss with my supervisors in equal positions because of the Dutch culture.
My PhD research is on reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to battle climate change. I can see myself still working in this field in 10 years. Geographically, I am not sure, it could be China or the Netherlands or anywhere in the world.
Grab this opportunity rather than hesitating, you will not regret it. By the way, we have free beers (and much more food and drinks) on Thursday afternoon every two weeks!