By Bernice Asamoah
When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I marveled at how clean everything was and how neatly water was channeled through town. It was very different from my homeland of Ghana, and I was struck by the diversity of Delft’s population.
I had arrived in the Netherlands on a scholarship from The Rotary Foundation to study sanitary engineering at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The opportunity came unexpectedly, but has turned out to be a career defining moment. I am so grateful to the Rotary Clubs of Kumasi East and Accra who supported my efforts to meet all the requirements for the scholarship.
Social coordinators from the school worked hard to make our stay as comfortable as possible. Our Ghanaian predecessors met us at the airport to greet us and take us to the school on a cold and rainy day. I was already experiencing the Dutch weather! Local Rotary members also went out of their way, despite their busy schedules, to help us and make us feel welcome.
I am confident and ready to begin contributing my part to solving my country’s water management and health issues.
We were taken on so many tours our first week in the Netherlands that I lost count. I learned a lot from the people I met. I was able to relate to the issues they shared about their countries and how they dealt with them. I saw how I could model these experiences to help meet the needs of my country, and the world as a whole.
One gets around the Netherlands principally by bicycle, which proved difficult for me to pick up at first. But eventually I got used to it, and can even say I found it a comfortable and easy way to get around.
My main purpose in accepting the scholarship was to gain knowledge in water and sanitation related issues, which proved totally worth my time. It was an educational journey that included excellent teaching and enlightening field trips. Apart from my studies, I also had the opportunity to meet other students from a variety of backgrounds and learn from their different lifestyles. I left the school a much more rounded person.
This has definitely been an important stepping stone in my career. I am confident and ready to begin contributing my part to solving my country’s water management and health issues. I look forward to striving to achieve Rotary’s motto of “Service above self.”