blogpost Wetskills-Romania 2015



Wetskills Water Challenge is back in Romania, movieRead the daily blog of the participants and organization here.

blog#13, 18 June 2015 by Marcel Rompelman (Wetskills supervisor, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences)

The day after

2 weeks already……

Early morning after, enjoying a double espresso and a vanilla roll, waiting for the flight at Henri Coanda. Last blog for the Wetskills Romania 2015 It’s back to work again, picking up exams end of this morning in Almere and grading them this afternoon.

winning team Wetskills at ExpoApa

This has been a good one. Working with Elena was so much fun, she showed me again how important it is to have colleagues who can have fun, rely on each other to take care of things and get things done. I knew roughly what I was getting into when Johan asked me to supervise this edition of Wetskills, but I had packed a sleeping bag, just in case……. A draft schedule was available, but I now know more than ever that on-the-spot-planning & adapting also works out fine. And I have several people to thank for making this a brilliant 2 weeks: Elena, a very big THANK YOU – we did good….. (punch), Violeta and Ioana, also thanks for arranging several parts on the Romanian side and of course Johan for getting me into this event. Last but not least all the students from Van Hall-Larenstein University of applied sciences, Polytechnica of Bucharest, Universities Utrecht & Wageningen and Technical University of Bucharest. Very nice to have worked with you. Hopefully we will see each other again somewhere in Europe. Thanks to everyone who has hosted & supported this round of Wetskills.

Students Wetskills Romania 2015

Although there can only be one winning team, all cases presented were close calls. Wetsnext? Next project for the Danube Delta is most likely on it’s way now & thanks to the winning team in pointing the direction to flood response units.

What I take home from this is for instance a brilliant team building exercise: Mistery Escape rooms. Having experts around for the students in the BrainHurricane helped a lot in getting information & different viewpoints on the industry cases. And although it took a while, season 1 and season 2 were followed up by a brilliant season 3 last night.

I’ll be back in Romania.

Buna ziua & multumesc, a fost minunat

blog#12, 16 June 2015 by Alhassan H. Ismail (University Politehnica of Bucharest)

Flyers distribution

At morning time, we have distributed the flyers to the Invitees, visitors and companies’ owners and their employees. We were convincing them to attend the Wetskills activities which are held tomorrow by giving them a brief explanation of our case study.

In fact, this was the first time for me to do such that work. I was a little bit shy and mflyer distrbution 3ay my colleagues also, we started to encourage each other to work together and distribute all flyers. Fortunately, we were able to convince a lot of people to attend the Wetskills activities tomorrow.  It was a new experience for me and enjoyable which I learned how to trust myself and to persuade the others.

I learned how the work as a team is helpful for addressing any kind of challenges. Furthermore, teamwork could be a way for breaking the obstacles which face the human. Besides, teamwork enabling you to exploiting time to accomplish hard works, listening to several views and choose the best among them.

flyer distrbution 2 20150616  flyer distrbution

blog#11, 15 June 2015 by Iris Al (International land and water management, Wageningen University)


Today was the first day of the ExpoApa, where on Wednesday we will present our projects. We had to be there early to be in time for the opening ceremony. All dressed up (we were told to dress formal) we arrived at the Parliaments building, where the ExpoApa was held. This is the second largest building in the world I believe and it is huge. There is a lot of marble and gold and there are many enormous chandeliers. So that gave a quite impressive entrance.

Our posters were hanging in one of the halls near the entrance of several of the lecture halls. It was very nice seeing them there, they all look very professional. Also, it is nice to see people actually reading them. Hopefully they will also attend the pitches.


The opening ceremony started around 10, but it was a bit challenging for the Dutchies, as it was all in Romanian. Thereafter there was some time to visit the expo and talk to several of the stand-owners. After lunch in one of the basement layers, Marcel, Elisa, Laura and I got lost trying to find our way back to the Expo. So we ended up finding people sleeping in closets instead. Maybe that’s where the vampire’s hide….

When we found our way back we had to rush back to the Polytechnica as there would be a lecture from Helmut Kroiss, the president of the IWA. He gave an interesting lecture on new developments in the water sector and how young water professionals should get involved in these issues.

My group still had to finish the memo so we wanted to work on that at the polytechnica, however this seemed more difficult as it sounds as there was nowhere to work (and we did not want Corina to be waiting for us with the key..) so we ended up in the dorm instead. Very cozy, with four people working in a small room. And as we had so much fun, people kept coming in so in the end we were there with 5/6/7 people. So we finished and decided to move to one of the restaurants and continued there with some food and drinks. A good end of the day 🙂

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blog#10, 14 June 2015 by Corina Boncescu (University Politehnica of Bucharest)


The finish of the week has come. After one week of work, Saturday afternoon we finish the project successfully. So, it was free time. My colleagues didn’t miss the fun part. During the day they walked on Morii Lake and in the evening they were to the Andre Rieu concert at the Parliament Palace. Even if they didn’t have tickets, after several negotiations with the keeper, they were allowed to attend. They were far away from scene, on the grass, they didn’t see much things but enjoyed the music.

Last week was so hard for me. Today, I prepared for the presentation on ExpoAPA event. I think that is a good idea to tell you more things about last week. Like a conclusion, this week was so hard for me. I make part from a team very complex consisting of students from 4 countries: Sjoerd and Anne from Netherlands, Hassan from Iraq, Felicia from Moldova and I from Romania. Even though we are so different, we made a good team. It was very funny because Sjoerd and Felicia always they were contrary, but to the finish began to have common opinions. It was annoying that Hassan done long phrases, but until to the pre-presentation he learned to tell a lot thing in short sentences. Anne and I occupied by the graphics and put all the parts together. I liked to work with her. We also tried to make some jokes to relax the atmosphere.

This experience make me to be more careful with the opinions of others colleagues and how to find the best solution.

I’m happy with our work and now I wait with emotions specialists’ opinion!

blog#9, 12 June 2015 by Bob Rooijakker (Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences)


The day began just as any other day. Work needed to be done. It was the last day people could work on their poster and pitch before giving the pre-presentations. It was the most silent and focused day the whole week. Between the hard working hours, the four groups quickly took a lunch break. This gave the people not only  full belly but also a clear and focused mind.

At 1700 the experts and one of the case owners came in to the room. At this moment the four groups gave their own pitch on which everybody could ask questions and give feedback on the poster and presentation. On these points of feedback, we made the poster even better and got a clearer view on what we needed to say.

After the presentations most of the people quickly got to their dorm to get changed for the barbeque later that night. As expected the barbeque was great. We had a lot of laughs, meat and drinks. This gave the most of the people energy to go out to the city.

All and all, Friday was a lovely day!!

blog#8, 11 June 2015 by Felicia Grosu (Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest)

What a day!

It was one of my favorite days since now. Hopefully, it won’t be the last one.

The day started as usual – me being just a little late. Not my fault, the night is too “short”. We spent concentrating on our study case the entire morning. We’ve been working on our memo and poster all day. Work, work, and once again work!However, some of us were really good at taking breaks (I have compromising photos , so don’t hide). It was a very beautiful, sunny day and a huge temptation to spent time, as much as possible, outside.



At mid-day, some of us, including me, have decided to have lunch outside, sitting on the grass and just enjoying our spare time. That’s way I’ve got a lovely sunburn.

We also laughed a lot, my team’s members have started making jokes about my “evil/devil” face. It’s ok, I don’t mind. I’m a very peaceful person (Sjoerd will approve me). Moreover, thanks to them I enjoyed each moment of the day, even when spent a lot of time arguing about our study case. Now, I have a favorite word “DELETE”.

Despite of my complaint about tiredness and the lack of time, Wetskills proved to be a useful and exciting project. I’ve met amazing, friendly and also very, very tall people. This project encourages me to take the next step to a career in water sector.

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blog#7, 10 June 2015 by Stănescu Laura Alexandra (University Politehnica of Bucharest)

Escape-the-room challenge

Had quite an exciting day. After the usual amount of work for the case we went to enjoy a little “surprise”: an escape-the-room challenge! Besides the obvious fact that it was a very fun activity, I learned that some locks have to be forced to be opened, and this lesson about persistence is one I think can be applied to some real-life situations.

Found out that this project energized me, I see myself doing things I felt I couldn’t do before in a short amount of time. Got a personal achievement: managed to get over a remnant of social anxiety and got called Ms. Engineer in the process, for the first time since graduating, by a stranger.

But more importantly, I’ve got a new perspective on the Wetskills Water Challenge. To be honest, at the start, I had a “get in, do your job, get out” mentality. I never expected I’d grow so fond of all these wonderful people, and in such a short amount of time. I believe we bonded quite quickly, and I hope these relationships will last beyond this installment of Wetskills. Overall, I’m really thankful for this amazing experience 🙂 .


blog#6, 9 June 2015 by Anne Kerkhoven (Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences)

A ‘normal’ day

As always, the day started with the annoying alarm which tells you to wake up. However, a healthy breakfast with some fruit and yoghurt, makes you very happy and awake apparently. So the Dutch participants walked together to the University. At 9 o’clock everybody arrived at the classroom and we knew we would spend most of the time in this classroom the next days. Tuesday was the first day on which we could really start working on the study case. So first we needed to make a Plan of Action and we needed to decide who was going to execute which part.

2015-06-09 View at lunch
View during the lunch

At 12 o’clock each team had a twenty minute talk with Marcel and Elena about their Plan of Action. Afterwards we all went to have lunch at the restaurant in a different building of the University. The Dutch were really surprised by the costs of the lunch! I only paid 12 lei, which is plus minus 3 euro, for soup, rice, two small pieces of chicken and a small salad. In The Netherlands, if you have 3 euros, you can only get a cold sandwich. We were sitting in several groups of Dutch and Romanians together and I had some nice talks about the differences in clothing between the Dutch and Romanian. It is funny that all the Dutch wear shorts, while the Romanian are wearing trousers.

Around 13 o’clock I wanted to get back to work, but when I wanted to leave, Jim called my name. So I went to their table and found out that Niels, Jim and Bob were explaining to Andrea and Felicia that the small ‘fights’ we regularly have are just for fun! But I think that Andrea was a little scared of it…haha. In the afternoon everybody continued working on their study cases. In the evening the Dutch went by subway to see two churches near the centre of the city. The churches were really colourful and the second one told a whole story with only paintings. Afterwards we had diner at the Bazaar. The food was really good! Later on we went to Oktoberfest to drink something and Marcel joined us. At eleven o’clock or maybe it was even later, we went by subway back to our dorms and straight to bed!

2015-06-09 Impression of the 2nd church 2015-06-09 Door of the 2nd church

blog#5, 8 June 2015 by Bică Andreea Daniela (Technical University of Construction of Bucharest, Faculty of Hydrotechnics)

Brain Hurricane

The day started at 9:00 o’clock in the 2nd floor of the New Library building of Politehnica University of Bucharest, Room 2.2. First we drank coffee to energize ourselves, then we attended the introductory remarks said by Johan Oost, program manager at Wetskills.

Then the Case owners got in touch with us to explain their cases to their teams, some of them talking on-line, some of them currently on site; half an hour later the Experts made a short introduction about their background of activities.

After a short coffee break, teams have discussed with the invited Experts at a Speed Dating (10 min per Expert) and asked questions in order to clarify the things they have to follow in the next week for the project. It was very interesting to talk with people like them with so much experience, because we learned some tips from them. Especially Mr. Epsică Chiru from Dept. of watter supply and Quality Control of the Apa Nova water company, who has a vast experience in public services and also in chemistry.

Also I was very impressed by Prof. Ioan Jelev from , Prof. Robescu, Ioana Dobrescu and so on for their help and kindness.

Then we had a sumptuos lunch with all kind of salads, traditional romanian food (polenta, „sarmale” etc.) to be ready for the first Brainstorm Session when every team has separated from each other and started to work out at the project (collecting informations from the Case Owners) and introduce to the following steps for the next day.

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 blog#4, 7 June 2015 by Amira Valentina Gogoanta (University Politechnic of Bucharest)

Team work/ team fun!

As participants to WETSKILLS 2015, our Sunday started with the meeting at the University Politehnica of Bucharest. After drinking the coffee, the fun started!

First interactional game was choosing a picture from many more. Afterwards we made a circle in the classroom and each one showed the picture to the group and explained why he chose that picture and how is it related to WETSKILLS. It was a nice experience because it taught me to talk in front of many people and to try to explain to them why I like something, and in this case was the picture.

02. Picture game 04. Picture game

After the fun part, the 4 cases we have to work on was explained to us, so each one of us would know what to choose in matter of interest and background knowledge. The choosing part came, and we made a top 3 of cases we liked and found interest in them. Because each one had a different choice, 4 teams of four and five persons were made, each receiving a case.

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But, we didn’t knew each other… And, how for any “problem” there has to be a solution, for the interacting part between the members of the team we had to do some drawings.

Some of us had no talent at drawing but others were quite good. We have five members in our team, and each of us had to do a drawing of the country we live in and to point the city we were born, were we grew, and were we study. Afterwards the similarities and differences between the two countries were discussed. We concluded that the wastewater treatment plants are similar, but the main difference that the Dutch students observed were the agricultural lands. In Romania those lands are wide opened, and in NL they are small and closed. We had more than an hour to discuss about this, but we talked about anything we found interesting, much more than our game was supposed to be.

We discussed about the similarities and differences between the people, the culture, the country, the laws, how vegetables and animals are grown, how other countries are, because each one of us had an experience in another country. The Dutch students were inviting us to visit The Netherlands, and us, the Romanian students, promised that we would be their tour guide in their next trip in Romania.

And because the day was not yet over, and we had to eat, each team got an interesting theme and a budget to go and buy food for everyone. The themes were salads and bread, traditional Romanian food, traditional Dutch food, vegetarian and Arabic food. For an hour and a half we had to behave like a “family” going to shopping and buying food for home. Each one had a different opinion, we ran from one side of the shop to another, we split the team in half and gave assignments, we didn’t find the food we wanted…

For me, this hour and a half past really quickly, I couldn’t imagine that I was shopping that long, because I usually go shopping with a list and in half of hour I would finish everything, and already got home.

I think this was the first test as a team because we had to manage the time and the budget and to learn to listen to everyone’s opinion. In the end, we understood that the best way to function as a team is to stay together and to listen to each other and to care about each other. And I think this would be for me a lesson for life…

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After we came back to the university, all the teams would gather the food they bought and put it on the grass, and all of us made a circle and we started to eat. We eat from every food, and each time we didn’t knew what the food was made from, or how to eat it, we would ask the others. The WETSKILLS program is more about the fun, the knowledge you gather, managing the inter relational skills, and getting to know other peoples culture and customs. And the time you spend on scientific research and work you feel it like a fun work with your team.


blog#3, 5 June 2015 by Sjoerd Kurvers (Environmental Science at the University of Applied HAS Den Bosch) and Jim Smeets (Land and Water Management at the van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences)

Wetskills experience the first and second day.

Thursday the fourth of June the Dutch participants of the wetskills arrived in Bucharest. At seven o’clock there was the first diner with the group. On Friday there was the first introduction activities, meeting with the Romanian participants. This was at the Gara de Nord railway station where we took the train to Constanta. There we brought a visit to the waste water treatment plant in Constanta. This wwtp has been recently updated and is responsible for 1/3 of the inhabitants equivalent of the city. 08. Constanta Nord WWTP

After this meeting we went to the beach. Not for playing in the sun, but to have an explanation about the coastal protection elements. These are designed and realized by the company of Van Oord maritime. It is designed so that it should protect and improve the amount of beach. This is necessary because the current will erode the local beaches of Constanta. It was very nice to see something you normally take for granted, but now you know the sciences behind it.

13. coastal zone project Van Oord 14. coastal zone project Van Oord 11. coastal zone project Van Oord

blog#2, 3-4 June 2015 by Niels Oostveen (Land and Water Management at the van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences).

First Dutch participants arrvive in Bucharest

As the largest group from one university in the Netherlands, five of us arrived in Romania a day before the Wetskills event started. Another Dutch participant also took a flight that day, and all of us had quite the pleasant surprise when we got off the airplane and walked onto a sunny almost 30 degree warm Bucharest airport runway. It was still early in the afternoon so after we had dropped off our luggage in the student dorms that were going to be our homes for the next 2 weeks, we went for a walk in the city and unexpectedly ended up walking past the magnificent Palace of the Parliament. After having admired this immense building, we continued and walked into the old town. Here we found a lot of liveliness and many cafes and restaurants, so we decided to put our feet up and enjoy some Romanian free time at a café.

The next day after a good night sleep we decided to find out how the metro works and took a ride to the other side of the city, where we went for a walk in one of Bucharest’s beautiful parks (some parks even have wifi!). We still had to get used a little bit to the hot weather here, so we took it slow and just enjoyed the serenity of the park. Later that day we paid a visit to a mall to get all the essentials we needed that didn’t fit in our luggage on the plane. In the evening we got back to the dormitories and met all the other Dutch participants and the organisers of Wetskills that had by now arrived as well. We went for dinner at a restaurant and some drinks afterwards. As expected, Romanian beers turned out to be a good way of getting to know each other.

blog#1, 2 June 2015 by Peter de Jong (University of Utrecht)

Time to take off!

Tomorrow I will take off again, Wetskills Romania is about to start. Why? you could wonder do I say time to take off? As former participant to the Wetskills South Africa 2012 I know that Wetskills is more than a ”bumpy flight”, or a ”hard trail on the maintain bike” It’s a place that changes you, it is a live changing experience! You can ask any of the participants of the 2012 South Africa edition and they will agree. One even made a movie about it: MOVIE.

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Group picture Wetskills-South Africa 2012

So now I hope you watched the movie. Other, Wetskills is for me a great learning experience, a place to be creative, a place to meet new cultures but also a place to make friends for the rest of your life! The exciting world of water science! Now you can wonder what does an urban planner and social researcher to do with a water challenge? I can tell you, during my last Wetskills I learned that water issues are not only of global importance they also require people how are willing to think outside the box, people that help people to get outside the box but mostly it need people from different disciplines. Water issues do not end after the creation of dike by civil engineers, water influences all our lives. Water and the protection against it but also the consumption of it are influencing the chose’s we can make in our life.

During my last Wetskills I worked on the improvement of a waste water treatment plant, our improvement did not only created cleaner water for the users through a wetlands it also created economic opportunities; use the water to created irrigation for the poor farmers. A learning experience; use the wetlands to protect the animals of the region and use it a school trip destination. Concluded we created a place that changed ”shit” into ”opportunities”. This all could not have been possible if we did not have all those different specialisations; urban planning, civil technique, hydrology and water technique. It hasn’t even started yet but I already know this experience is going to be as intense as the last Wetskills one!

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Pitch presentation of the WINNING TEAM, included Peter


Photo: Peter was member of the winning team of Wetskills-South Africa 2012


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