Corinne van den Brink is our 200th incoming EPS-student

CorinnevandenBrink webb

The European Project Semester is a program offered by eighteen European universities in thirteen countries throughout Europe (Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, France, Romania, Austria, United Kingdom and Scotland). The EPS is offered to third year university/college students. EPS is created with engineering students in mind, but other students are also welcome.

Novia UAS in Vaasa has offered an international Project Semester within the framework of EPS for 8 years now. This semester we were happy to receive our 200th incoming student Corinne van den Brink.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Corinne van den Brink, I’m 20 years old and I am from the Netherlands. I study Chemical Engineering in Enschede at Saxion. In Enschede I live in a student house with 6 other students. In my free time I play guitar and do survivalrun as sport. Besides that, I love to go (ice)skating, biking or hiking around in nature. I also enjoy cooking.

Why did you choose to go abroad for an exchange Semester?

I always said that I wanted to go abroad for my study, so the only thing I had to figure out was when and where I should go. I chose to do EPS instead of a minor to do abroad, because with EPS you would be immediately in a group with other exchange students, and a minor you have to do by yourself.

Why Finland and Novia UAS?

For the EPS program I could choose from several universities in Europe, and I had to make a top 3. For holiday’s I've already been to Norway, Sweden and Denmark and really loved it there, so I thought let’s go for Finland than. And since I chose Finland, I automatically chose Novia as well.

Tell us about your project

Our project is named Circular & Sustainable Algae (C&S Algae), we clarify and explain the possibilities of algae and the TransAlgae project. The TransAlgae project is a project supported by the European union. They do research for possible algae cultivation in the Nordic climate, then using the algae to produce biofuel and make food out of the algae. Our C&S project is basically clarifying this whole process and putting the possibilities, advantages, but also the weaknesses and threats within the TransAlgae project in order. We also had to come up with a circular economy concept within this process and created a model that visualizes the possible combination for combining macro- and micro algae cultivation with the production of food and biofuel. After the mid-term presentation, we started working with the marketing students of Vaasa university to create a branding concept, based on macro algae as food. This was really intense, I’ve never had anything to do with marketing, so I learned a lot. But our purpose in these marketing groups was to give them information about macro algae, such as different types and species, nutrients, health issues/possibilities, and other technical information they wanted to know.

JN IMG 9261 1Team TransAlgae with team coach Andreas Willfors.

The semester is almost done, do you think the EPS-concept is a relevant way of working?

I learned that I really like learning languages. I also learned a lot about algae, of course, and I learned about marketing concepts and branding. I think EPS is a great concept, you learn a lot about working in a project group and other people’s way of working, and of course about the project itself.

What has been your best experience in Finland?

I think enjoying the nature and quietness of the country. It is really beautiful and relaxing here, and everyone and everything has so much space. Once you get to know Finnish people they are very welcoming, polite and friendly.

Any disappointments?

Not really, the project-concept itself was what I expected it to be since the concept at my home university is the same. Maybe disappointed in the fact that the semester here already ends in December, the time went so fast! And disappointed that the winter came so late this year.

Can you recommend EPS for other students?

Definitely! You get to know so much about other lifestyles and habits and things you thought were normal tend to be abnormal for other people. You also learn a lot about working in a project group and about the project itself.

Your plans for the near future?

Well next semester I'm starting my chemical engineering minor in the Netherlands, then I have to do an internship followed by my graduation thesis. I’m not sure what kind of internship I want to do but I’ve always been interested in water technology. I don’t know if I’m going to do a master after I finished my bachelor, that is something I still have to think about.

JN IMG 9240 1The EPS students of autmn semester 2018.


Interview by Roger Nylund EPS-Coordinator at Novia UAS