So far what have been the highlights of your study?
The highlights of my time were the lectures. I have a background in computer science and not specifically in engineering, so I needed extra support. I was helped by my fellow colleagues and the lecturers also were very supportive offering access at any time to follow up questions and further explanation. I found that in Delft the lecturers interact with the students with a shallow gradient of authority and they remain approachable and amenable at all times. This was very different to my learning experience back home.
Why did you pick UNESCO-IHE for your studies?
While looking for a job back home in Namibia, I went to the Government offices seeking a position in data processing which was my discipline. By coincidence I was informed that there was a vacancy for a hydrologist and I was encouraged to apply. I did and I got the job. I was aware that I lacked specific knowledge pertinent to water engineering and I resolved to try to combine hydrology with my more familiar work in computer science. I was encouraged to apply for the training opportunity in Delft and was grateful to be given a place.
How has the degree helped you with your career progression and do you know what you will be doing afterwards?
I have a job waiting for me back home. I feel that it is important that I contribute to my country. In Namibia, the country alternates between floods and droughts, and there is insufficient knowledge and resources to deal with them. For example warnings of only anticipated river levels are given and it is expected that the community will be able to respond accordingly. The water levels are not interpreted into the possible relevant impact on communities and no support to try and interpret direct consequences and action plans are provided. I want to create models that will forecast effects and use these models to provide practical advice to my people to lessen the risk and damage caused by floods. This will apply equally to informing the decision makers at government level and thus close the loop of communication and risk management.
What is it like to live in Delft? Do you like the atmosphere?
I found Delft more Dutch than Amsterdam or some other areas I have seen. I found it easy to work and study in Delft for it has a wonderful and encouraging student environment. It is quiet. Back home there are many distractions. This was not the case here. UNESCO-IHE encouraged social gatherings by putting on events such as Asian Night and African Night. There are sport's days as well, where I played soccer! I found cycling to be a revelation! I can't believe how easy it is to bike safely and efficiently making it so simple to get around. When I wanted to venture further I found Public transport efficient and easily accessed. I have had a wonderful experience, and many happy memories that I will take home to Namibia!
Would you recommend UNESCO-IHE to prospective students?
Indeed. It has been tough but thorough. I felt that I was given every support I could have hoped for. Fellow students were accommodative and the lecturers would always go the extra mile to ensure that they were there for me. Their doors were always open. I found the emphasis on the practical application of the knowledge we gained to be invaluable and was helped to understand how to implement and use all I learned in a real world.
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