Yuan Zhuang, originally from China, has been living in the Netherlands for eight months. She enrolled in the Master's programme in Natural Resource Management at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) after earning her Bachelor's degree in Forestry Engineering at the North East Forestry University at home in China. “Actually, one of the things I’ve discovered in the course of doing the programme is that I don't want a career focused solely in this field", says Zhuang.
“So what made me opt for this programme at the ITC? Well, as a child I was always very interested in pictures. But I couldn’t see myself as something like a painter; I wanted a career in science. One of my lecturers at university suggested the possibility of doing a Master's degree here at the ITC. This faculty is world-renowned for its work in the area of geo-information science and remote sensing, and the programme is a good fit for me personally, especially in terms of the education structure.” Not only that, the ITC offers excellent career prospects, too, says Zhuang. “There's a huge market in China now for geo-information science and remote sensing. With developments taking place so fast in my country, there is high demand for expertise in this field. But its popularity as a subject has yet to catch up. I'd like for more people to discover this field."
As to what she would like to do with the knowledge she has acquired in the Netherlands once she graduates, Zhuang says she is not sure yet. “I want to go back to China and back to my parents, in any event. I’m looking into different possibilities at the moment. A job position, or maybe pursuing a PhD, but that depends partly on what types of grants are available. Maybe I’ll end up taking a lectureship in geo-information science..."
Now almost midway into her 18-month programme, Zhuang says she has enjoyed life in the Netherlands so far. "I like it here. It's a chance for me to try on the Dutch lifestyle for a while. And Enschede is a great city – not too big, not too small. I live in the ITC hotel. One of the best things about it is that you share a kitchen with other international students. So, while you’re cooking, you can not only meet other students but also get to know about foods from all different countries."