Read what students say about water technology and about doing an internship or working at the CEW:
Who are you, what do you do where do you come from?
My name is Tim List, I am 21 years old and I come from Joure. Currently I am taking the MBO Chemical Physical Analyst course.
How did you end up at CEW?
On the advice of a teacher, he put me in touch with Maarten Trilsbeek, project manager at CEW. The project that I ended up with was actually intended as a bachelor of science internship, but it seemed to fit in well with my ambitions. I'm going to do a bachelor in Chemistry in Groningen next year and this internship was a nice step.
What did your internship entail?
For the project Spuiwaterzuivering Glastuinbouw Berlikum I was able to merge a few result reports into one. So duplicate results, create unity in style, that sort of thing. In addition, I was involved in the project on the removal of phosphate and nitrate from various water flows and the marsh roof project, for which I have done a lot of analysis work.
What did you like about your internship?
I thought it was nice that a lot of independence is expected from you. You also have the space to find your own way within the organization. The variation, not only in activities, but also in people and cultures, was also pleasant. For example, I learned more about Afghanistan by a fellow student from that country. The mutual atmosphere was very good and the workspace pleasant and light.
What did you dislike?
One of the reports I had summarized did not turn out well afterwards, so I had done a lot of work for nothing. That was a setback, but otherwise I can not think of anything that was not fun.
What is the most important thing you learned during this internship?
This internship has drastically changed my vision of the future, I can say. I found out that I no longer want to become an analyst, but that a role as project leader appeals to me much more. With an inspiring example, my supervisor at the Moerasdakproject Bob Laarhoven. I think it's much more fun to occupy myself with the big picture, rather than just a small part of the research. Important information that I bring to my further education, Chemistry at the Hanzehogeschool in Groningen. In addition, I started to think more positively about entrepreneurship because CEW offered me the chance to participate in the WaterCampus Business Challenge . I certainly do not exclude the possibility that I will start working for myself in the future, but with an innovative product with which I can make the world a better place.
Would you recommend an internship at CEW?
Certainly, but only if you like a challenge. And I mean that in a positive sense: you have to work hard for it, but you get a lot in return.
I am 23 years old, and I come from a small village near Braga, in the north of Portugal. I took my first degree in Biochemistry at the University of Porto and recently started the final year of my Master’s in Food Science and Technology at the University of Minho, Portugal. In this degree I saw an opportunity to pursue my studies in an area that I enjoy and a way to gain more experience and knowledge before entering the job market.
The first time I heard about the CEW was in the middle of the first year of my Master’s degree. A teacher asked if any students were interested in a CEW water technology internship, so I applied. During my internship I was involved in two Paques projects, first Thiopaq and later Annamox. Thiopaq is a desulphurisation technology developed by Paques B.V., and Annamox involves converting ammonium present in wastewater, for example, to gaseous nitrogen.
When asked if I wanted to do my internship at the CEW, I saw an opportunity to work abroad in a business context, to gain experience and autonomy. Plus wastewater treatment is one of my primary areas of interest, so the theme of this internship appealed to me. And of course it was a way to travel and experience a different culture. Things I enjoyed the most in the projects were the bioreactor’s daily maintenance and monitoring the projects. There were some bad moments when problems came up but that’s part of the job. During the last 5 months here I’ve learned a lot about water technology, engineering and bioreactor maintenance. I also gained a lot of experience in chemical analysis among other important lab skills.
Of course I recommend working for the CEW! You’ll gain a lot of laboratory experience and have to solve practical problems. After this internship I feel I have a better foundation for the future and am more confident of my skills, especially in the laboratory. Everyone here makes you feel integrated and part of the family.
Leeuwarden is a cosy, vibrant city in the north of the Netherlands, the capital of the Province of Friesland. The province has its own history and its own culture, even within the Netherlands. A lot of people here speak not only Dutch but also the Frisian language. And Frisians are very proud of their heritage. Before I arrived in the Netherlands I was told that I would find people here a bit ‘cold’ but it was the opposite! Leeuwarden has many foreign students and the city has good housing opportunities. I stayed in a student residence during my internship.
Now that my internship at the CEW is over I’m going to return to Portugal and finish my studies. My short-term plan is to first finish my Master’s degree. After that I will have to decide whether I continue studying or look for a job.
I am a 26-year-old Indonesian. I chose this study because I worked in the water sector in Indonesia and to further my career in the water industry. The Wetsus Academy informed me about the CEW at the WaterCampus in Leeuwarden. At the CEW I worked on the Thiopaq project, a biological desulphurisation technology developed by Paques BV. I chose the Thiopaq project because I already had experience with it. I did my internship at Paques while working on the project.
During my time at the CEW, I learned about technical research and how to keep the bioreactor (Thiopaq installation) stable. Furthermore I learned how many stakeholders can work together. Apart from the technical/research aspect, I also learned the Dutch language. The CEW supports students wanting to attend Dutch courses.
Leeuwarden is a beautiful city with beautiful canals. It is limited only by its location: it’s a bit too far from other cities in the Netherlands. The Frisian/Dutch people (because I cannot tell the difference) are nice people and open to a foreigner like me. They treat me well. I lived in student housing provided by StudentStay.
After I finish at the CEW, I will go back to Indonesia. My short-term plan is to work in the water sector there, to understand the water business in Indonesia, and to start a company that provides technology for and advises the water sector.
If you like applied research I think the CEW is a good place to start. What I like about working at the CEW is the environment and the people. Moreover, the CEW is located in the WaterCampus, which provides an opportunity to engage with other people from other companies/research centres in the field of water.
My name is Sigrid, I am 36 years old and I live in Ureterp, a small town near Drachten. Before I came to the CEW, I was already working with water, but in a completely different area: I was a lock and bridge operator. Nevertheless, there were a lot of water technology projects around me: generating energy from salt water versus fresh water, separating the water in locks so that the salt water goes back to the Wadden Sea and the fresh water goes back to the IJsselmeer, etc. When I looked for something new, one of the first areas that attracted me was water technology. I liked what I heard about it, so in September 2017 I joined Van Hall Larenstein’s part-time Associate Degree Sustainable Water Technology course.
A requirement of the training is to have a workplace connected to water technology. So in order to be able to follow the Associate Degree, I had to find work in this area. A teacher told me about the CEW and introduced me. Although I had no experience with water technology, the CEW decided to give me a chance. So I started working here in July 2017.
I am currently completing the Biotop project. Biotop makes natural swimming ponds and they wanted to know if it was possible to use rainwater instead of tap water to fill them. In recent months I have researched the quality of rainwater, the laws and regulations relating to swimming ponds, and water purification methods.
What I really liked about this project was that it had definite start and end dates. Some information was available when I started, but most of it I had to discover myself (with all the help I required, of course). And it ended with a presentation at the International Swimming Pond (IOB) Congress and a report. Throughout the project, I had the opportunity to find out what worked for me. What I didn’t like was reading all the regulations... they were a lot of hard work.
The most important thing I’ve learned during my time here at the CEW is to use my ‘backup system’. To ask questions if I get stuck, to not go on alone for too long. There are always people who can answer questions. I also learn a lot about water technology, about working on projects and about myself.
As far as my plans for the future are concerned, in the short term I want to learn everything I can during my two-year study period and while I’m at the CEW. Then I would like to find a job somewhere in the water technology sector. At the moment I have no idea what, but I’m sure I will by then.
He knew early on that he wanted to do something with water technology. Abe Schippers, Water Technology student at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences: “I was already sold on the idea when I was group 8 at primary school and Jan Melein from Wetsus visited the class to teach us about water technology. He brought all kinds of exciting practical demonstrations that I found very exciting.”
What is your exact field of study at Van Hall Larenstein?
“Chemical Technology with a Major in Water Technology. I have less affinity with animals and nature, so Environmental Sciences and Biotechnology fell by the wayside. CT is more technical and that’s a good thing for me.”
How and when did you come into contact with the CEW?
“That was at the beginning of my second year of study, when we had to do a Water Technology internship. Our internship career counsellor was enthusiastic about the CEW so I went to talk to them. They had a nice project and we clicked, so we started working together.”
What project did you do at the CEW?
“`I was involved in the desalination of seawater by means of reverse osmosis. At that time, there were also three students working at the CEW from the Environmental Sciences course. We helped each other regularly if extra manpower was needed. For example, I also helped with a sludge dehydration project. That made my internship very varied.”
What did you like about working at the CEW?
“The freedom: you have your own project and you’re doing a lot of practical and independent work. And if you get stuck, there’s always someone nearby who can help you out.”
What did you find difficult and/or less fun about the project?
“The theory is good to do, but the practice is sometimes quite difficult. You know what you want to test, but how can you do this as simply and cheaply as possible? This involves unpredictable factors that you don't learn from textbooks, which makes an internship very instructive.”
What are your plans for the future?
“First I want to graduate of course. I would like to do my graduation project somewhere outside the three northern provinces. In the meantime maybe I can work part-time at the CEW to earn some extra money in a useful way. I don’t know what I want to do after graduating. At the moment I find drinking water an interesting subject. Maybe I’ll work for a drinking water company like Vitens.”
2nd year Chemical Technology student
“The orientation internship was a lot of fun. We were shown different aspects of the water technology sector so that we were able to get a complete ‘picture’ of it. The office work alternates with lab work, which makes it varied and surprising.”
“I followed an instructive orientation course at the CEW. I’ve learned a lot in terms of compiling reports, research and cooperation. Together with four other guys we’ve been working on interesting topics that provide us with a lot of information for the continuation of our study. An internship at the CEW is something I would recommend to everyone.”
“I’m now in the fourth year of my Environmental Sciences course at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. I’m following a part-time Minor and wanted to gain work experience in the field. That’s why I applied to the CEW. I could immediately work on a project at the Wetterskip Fryslân for 16 hours a week. I certainly recommend the CEW to my fellow students and of course to anyone who has an affinity with water.”