Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coming To The End

Author: Hong Ting (Sam) Chiu

Time flies. It has already been ten weeks and my stay in the Netherlands is coming to the end. With less than 30 hours from the flight departure, my feeling here is rather a mix. I want to go home and see my family; yet, I do want to stay in the Netherlands and continue to see this beautiful country.

With such a short stay, I would say I am satisfied with my time being here. I managed to complete what I supposed to. With the guidance and support, I was able to run the batch and column experiments as planned originally. Although the results might not be perfect nor ground breaking, I have developed the ideology and mentality on doing research. From the numerous 12 hours workday I had here, I have learned a lot in terms of knowledge (knowing arsenic more than ever), experience (designing an experiment), and skills (actually setting up and running an experiment on my own). All these are more valuable than the actual data produced.

In addition to the research learning, the real life learning experience is the other things I got out of this trip. I have never been to Europe before; so the Netherlands is definitely something new. I am amazed by the infrastructure, the transportation system (bike paths and sophisticated train system), and the canal (yes, even after seeing so many...). I am really glad that I had the opportunity to learn about the Dutch water defense and the view points on fighting the global climate change (with the attempt to make the city climate proof). All these are something I have never seen in the Florida and Hong Kong (well, may be the public transit in Hong Kong. But still, Europe's is different :D).

The crowd at the UNESCO-IHE is diverse and they have people all over the world (at least more than my fingers). I have managed to meet some new people. It is always interesting to talk to different people and listen to what they have to say. The interaction has widened my horizon on different cultures and beliefs. I have also tried many food that I have never tried before (for some, I still don't know what they are :P. But they were tasty.). However, all the people I met do hold the common goal - they are all here to try to make the world better, greener, and more sustainable.

This trip has been wonderful and really opened my eyes. I would like take this occasion to thanks National Science Foundation to sponsor this program; Dr. Daniel Yeh (USF) for coordinating this trip; Professor Gary Amy (UNESCO-IHE/KAUST), Dr. Branislav Petrusevski (UNESCO-IHE), Dr. Maya Trotz (USF), Ms. Valentine Uwamariya (UNESCO-IHE), and the UNESCO-IHE lab staff for their guidance, support, and the patience to bear with me; the Florida Earth Foundation The Florida-Holland Connection Team for letting us be on part of program. Thank you very much (and time to get back to packing).

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