About Esti RC

Graduada en Psicología por la Universidad de Deusto (Bilbao, Spain), y Master en Investigación en Psipatología Clínica y del Desarrollo por la Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Actualmente trabajo como investigadora predoctoral en el equipo de investigación Deusto Stress Research.

The Green Student Bootcamp: A student approach to sustainability

 

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Since I moved in Amsterdam last year, I was extremely surprised by the importance of sustainability and all the green initiatives that this city offers. I decided that I wanted to become part of this sustainability movement and I joined the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge. This was a 12-week program aimed to promote healthier lifestyle choices, to help students live more sustainably and put theory into practice. The Bootcamp was organised by the Green Living Lab (GLL).

The GLL is an initiative of Aveen Colgan. It is a project aimed to increase students’ contact with nature in their everyday environments (find more info about their projects in the GLL facebook page) I was in love with this place from the beginning! This was our place for meeting during the 12-week program.

 

Here you can read my experience in the Bootcamp!

I decided to join the Green Student Bootcamp because I have always been interested in learning how to achieve a healthy lifestyle. I also wanted to learn more about sustainability and how I could apply it in my daily life. I was curious to learn that our daily choices directly influence our well-being, quality of life, happiness, and our general physical and psychological health.

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Every Friday we met in the Green Living Lab (GLL). We attended workshops and lectures by experts, met individuals and organisations focused on making positive contributions to society, we debated, we cooked, we danced, we laughed and we spent time in nature. Some of the sessions involved practical activities while others were more theory-based. We learned about organic gardening, plants, how to grow our own food, how to cook healthy vegan food, how we can compost our kitchen waste at home and we shared our experiences so we could learn from each other.

I learned how to be a healthy student and how to make healthier choices in my daily life. I was given the resources to build a happy-healthy-active lifestyle. I really enjoyed meeting and learning with the people from the bootcamp. It was really nice to meet people with similar ideas and interests. It was a learning experience. I feel we learned from each other. Moreover, I realise the importance of spending time in nature. Sometimes in big cities such as as Amsterdam people forget about the importance of green areas, and how this influences their health.

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After the 12-week program we had a graduation party. It was amazing! It was a great experience for me. Sometimes, when you study abroad you might feel lonely. I am really grateful for all the people that I met during the bootcamp. Now I am still helping in the GLL as a volunteer. I would like to thank all of you for making this possible. Aveen, I love you strength, your patience, and how you can make everyone feel comfortable. Thank you to all of the GLL team for making this possible.

This year the Green Living Lab is making a new program about how we can all work together to have a positive impact on our environment and local economy by composting food waste to make compost for local food production. The course also covers healthy lifestyle choices, how to prevent food waste and a vegan cooking lesson. Here you can find more information. There is still time to take part ! Here you can find more information or just contact info@greenlivinglab.org and let them know you would like to join in. it is 100% recommended!

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I wish I could share my whole experience with you. I you want to know more about it, you can contact me on: e.royuelacolomer@student.vu.nl

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My experience as a Master student in Amsterdam

Who am I?

I come from the Basque Country in the North of Spain. I am currently enrolled in the two year Clinical and Developmental Psychopathology Research Master. I have been living in Amsterdam since August, 2015.

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Why I decided to move the Netherlands?

When I was about to finish my Bachelor in Psychology, like most of the bachelor students, I had to decide if I wanted to continue my studies with a master or if would try to find a job. Considering the Spanish situation for psychology graduates, I wouldn’t expect to find a proper job; therefore I decided to study a master. However, I did not find any master in Spain that I really like. I decided to expand my horizons and start looking for masters abroad.

I’ve always been passionate for travelling, meeting new people and discovering new cultures and ways of living and getting in touch with international environments.  When I was doing my bachelor I spend one year as an Erasmus student in Ireland. I really enjoyed the experience and learn a lot about it. I would like to emphasize that doing a master abroad is completely different from doing an Erasmus. There are two completely different experiences, but both of them are worth it.

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Why the VU University?

Once I took the decision of studying a master abroad, I started looking for different universities around Europe that offered programs in English. Living abroad is expensive and scholarships and grants are not so easy to find compared to the ones you can get from being an Erasmus student. In my case I miss some scholarships because I didn’t plan it on time. My recommendation is to start searching and applying for scholarships even before you know you will be accepted in the master.

After an exhaustive search, I finally found the Clinical and Developmental research master in the VU. I’ve read a lot about the high quality of education in the Netherlands and I considering the low prices for European students I thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

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The city

When people ask me I always tell them that I was never looking for the Netherlands; the master came first and the city was a secondary outcome.  However, since I arrive here I started faling in love with the city and all the opportunities (personal and career related) that Amsterdam offered me.  It is multi cultural city in which you can find all kind of events at any time. I become more open minded and learn a lot about different cultures, cooking styles and developed my own style and way of living.

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My personal opinion

Living in Amsterdam has changed my life. When I compare who I am now to who I was when I came here I realize how much I changed. How mature I become, how open minded, independent and strong person I am now. This experience gave me the opportunity to know other people and get to know myself better. It is not only about the master, it is about everything that surrounds it. I know that if I would have made this master in Spain, in my hometown, surrounded by the people I already know I wouldn’t have grown as much as Amsterdam did.

Studying abroad is not only about you professional skills, it’s also about the personal changes that you experience in the road. It changes your perspective; it introduces you to new ideas and new ways of living, which in turn influences every aspect of your life.

For me, this first year of the master has been a path to understand myself better and to find what I want to do in the future. Moreover, quality of studies in the VU is really high. Professors are super qualified and experienced. I know this year in Amsterdam has produced so many changes in my life.

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Final comments

I really recommend going abroad to study. I also know that doing a master is really different from doing an exchange program during your bachelor.  Sometimes it can be difficult to stay away from the people you know, your friends and family. You learn and become stronger. Some days you will miss your country and your people, but I never regret my choice of coming here. I think the positives outperform the negatives.

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