Studying and living in the Netherlands – first impressions

by Joaquim Nhampoca

This is a kind of narrative of a quite long process of my coming to the Netherlands for my project. The main purpose is to share with everyone about my PhD programme and obviously my stay in Delft. To make it clear I will start by the application for the PhD position, arrival and accommodation, studying at UNESCO-IHE, and finally living in Delft.

The application process started in May 2014 after I received an email through the Department of Sociology (where I am a lecturer) of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique about the scholarship. After submitting all the required documents I had to wait for a couple of months until I was informed to take part on English test at the Faculty of Engineering of UEM where I first met the other candidates (Noor Gulamussene and Adriano Biza). That was not the end because months later we were had an interview at Hotel Terminus in Maputo, with Peter van der Zaag and Sandra Manuel. Just to laugh, I still remember one of the question from van der Zaag, what do you mean by environmental racism? – it appeared in my initially submitted proposal. In December 2014, I had one more interview by phone, this time were Maria Rusca and Sandra Manuel. Finally in February 2015, I received the good news of my admission from Jolanda Boots of UNESCO-IHE.

Arrival and accommodation
I arrived in Netherlands on 27th August 2015. That was the beginning of a new life out of my home country and a long academic journey, the PhD Programme. Fortunately upon arrival at Delft Central Station Biza and I went straight to UNESCO-IHE where we had a very good reception. Let me say, once more, thanks to Jolanda. I remember that it was a very strong and busy day. After receiving all the administrative instructions we went to DUWO for the accommodation process, and we also had meeting with Peter van der Zaag and Margreet Zwarteveen. On the same day we received our desks where we have been working. I am living at Pamperstraat and so far without complaints.

Studying at UNESCO-IHE
The Institute for Water Education (IHE) has become a familiar and very friendly place where I have met people from almost all over the world – the real example of cultural diversity. The MSc, PhD Fellows, and Staff members are also very friendly and communicative. I am now writing my PhD Proposal on “People´s perception and acceptance of wastewater, water reuse, and local knowledge”. Throughout the four years I will have to publish four articles and now I am also outlining the first one on attitudes and perceptions towards wastewater reuse with focus to Sub-Saharan Africa. To highlight, since my arrival I have taken part on several events, academic and non-academic such the project’s workshop, the UNESCO PhD Symposium (where I presented the draft of my Proposal), Africa and Technology, UNESCO Asian Night and the Winter Party, to name a few.

A break during the first group meeting.

Launch of Sustainable Development Goals

Living in Delft-Netherlands

Delft is a small city in the South of Netherland (well known for its Canals and windmills), very quiet and a nice place to study. Public transport are very efficient and you can easily travel from Delft to the nearest cities like Rotterdam and The Hague and even to Amsterdam. I enjoy the canals, landscape and see people cycling. I have already visited different places in Delft and out of Delft such as Leiden, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Amsterdam. I often like doing guided city tours by bus, bike or on foot. Therefore, I put into practice some of my dreams visiting the Peace Palace, Noordeinde Palace and Heineken Experience. So far, I am still getting used to the weather (low temperatures), Dutch food and trying to learn, by heart, some words in Dutch.

Heineken Experience

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