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Student Stories: What is it like to study in the Netherlands?

Getting a world-class higher education wasn’t the sole reason that Mario Alberto Fuentes Monjaraz’s decided to fly thousands of miles away from his native Mexico to study in the Netherlands.

The 26-year-old, who is currently pursuing the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Flood Risk Management at the IHE Institute for Water Education, is all too familiar with the fragile state of Mexico’s water resources.  

Water.org notes that Mexico still faces water scarcity in certain parts of the country; inadequate drinking water quality and wastewater treatment, and poor technical and commercial efficiency of most utilities.

Studying at the institute — which is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world — will help Fuentes Monjaraz develop an expertise in the field and pave the way for him to achieve his goal of starting an environmental agency in Latin America in the future.

Addressing a valuable resource aside, Fuentes Monjaraz knew that living and studying in a new environment would also serve him well in the future of work, where a borderless economy meant increasing interaction with people of various backgrounds.

Fuentes Monjaraz told Study International that his experience in the Netherlands has thus far proved transformational. He is shattering self-imposed limits about his capabilities, gaining a broader perspective on life in general and staunchly believes his experience abroad will help him to work better with people of different backgrounds.

He enlightens us about his experiences in the Netherlands via an email interview:

Tell us about yourself. Why did you choose to study abroad?

study in the Netherlands

Monjaraz describe the Netherlands as “amazing”. Source: Mario Alberto Fuentes Monjaraz

I decided to come to the Netherlands because in Mexico, I had learned everything I could in my field with the resources I had. My next step was to further my expertise. It was my main reason. However, travelling and knowing other cultures and people was also a motivating factor to study abroad.

What do you like most about studying in the Netherlands?

I have studied in two countries in the EU — Germany and the Netherlands and I can say now by comparison that the Netherlands is a much more cozy country for international students. 

People have been very welcoming and friendly. The feeling and vibe here is incredible because the Dutch are happy to receive international students. In addition, the country is amazing and has many things to teach those living or studying here through its culture and people.

What are you studying and why?

I am studying Water Science and Engineering because water is a fragile resource in my country  that is not being managed adequately; through my knowledge and expertise, I can propose better ways to manage and preserve it. The Netherlands have developed technologies and expertise to study water resources that I can use to achieve this goal.

study in the Netherlands

He choose to study in the Netherlands as it has the expertise regarding the study of water resources. Source: Mario Alberto Fuentes Monjaraz

Tell us about your most memorable time at IHE Delft.

My most memorable moment was my first day arriving at IHE; I had explored the campus and met with my professors. They are professionals and share the same passion I have for water resources that I felt connected instantaneously. I still feel this way even after the lockdown. 

Was there anything about the Netherlands that surprised you as an international student?

The culture is surprising. People are very respectful and friendly. They respect time, work, as well as the cultural differences of other people, making it easy to adapt to the country.

study in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a great appeal for international students. Source: Mario Alberto Fuentes Monjaraz

What’s your advice to others who are planning to study in the Netherlands?

Do not hesitate to do it. It has been my best experience living and studying abroad.

What are your plans for the future?

I am planning to finish my master programme and start an environmental consultancy in Mexico and Latin America.

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