Angela Maria Paula Bayona Valderrama

IHE Delft helped us with a project in Colombia to organize water management, this is why I thought this is a good place to study.

Latin America and the Caribbean
Colombia Latin America and the Caribbean

Angela Maria Paula Bayona Valderrama is from Bogota, Colombia. Angela is a biologist. Angela’s first job was at a consultancy company specialized in full-service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning and water (The Antea group). Angela has been working for four years as a biologist, she was in charge of making assessments of aquatic ecosystems and water quality for different industries. 

Angela heard about IHE Delft two and a half years ago and decided that she wanted to study at the Institute. There was a flood in Colombia five years ago. Many people lost their lives and homes. Consequently, the government in Colombia hired Dutch consultants and Institutes to set up a plan for those kind of emergencies. A management plan was build up and IHE Delft helped withits development. Though her job, Angela had projects with organizations from The Netherlands and she learned more about aquatic ecosystems and about an interdisciplinary approach. Angela was thus inspired to become part of IHE Delft.

Angela applied three times to IHE Delft. The first time she did not have enough professional experience. The second time she was accepted but the English test results arrived too late at our home address. The third time Angela was successful.

Why Angela choose IHE Delft over other Institutes: ‘’There were several aspects. IHE Delft helped us with the project in Colombia to organize the water management. This is why I thought this is a good place to study. Furthermore, I heard from colleagues that IHE Delft has a good quality education and people feel at home at the Institute.’’

On her motivation to study in the water sector: ‘’When I was young I lived near a pond, sometimes the water appeared red and later in the year it seemed green. This strengthened my interest to study biology, to understand why the change. ‘’Water is the engine of life, without water even the smallest organism cannot survive.’’

About problems in her home country: ‘’Our climate is very different, we do not have set seasons, and yet we have rainy seasons. The variability is very hard for Colombia to control. We cannot predict the weather, it is impossible. The resources are therefore difficult to manage, because the variability will not change, but will be even higher due to climate change.

‘’In Colombia we have a lot of water, it rains a lot, there are enough resources. But there are also problems with sanitary systems, people are drinking water that is contaminated. There is a needs gap. With my study I would like to contribute to solve this problem, to address how people are dealing with resources, how they are being treated, consumed, how the different industries also are part of this picture and how the cities contribute to pollution in Colombia. This is the big picture. There are many rural areas in Colombia that have low water quality, there should be a plan to solve this problem.’’ When Angela finishes her study she would like to work in the government in Colombia.

On the teaching style at IHE Delft: ‘’It is tough, they are really demanding that we give 100%, and I like that. They expect the best from us, because we were chosen from a larger group. We should also expect a lot from ourselves. You need to compromise, put effort in your work and keep up. It is not difficult, but it is time demanding. You have a lot of information to cope with in a short time period.’’

On how she experienced her first week: ‘’My first impression was the warmth at the Institute.  Furthermore, I also had a list to do in the first week; go to the appointments, getting to know the city etc. I have met people from all over the world, we can help each other, because we have different backgrounds.”

Her first impression of Delft: ‘’ There are a lot of bikes! I cannot imagine Delft without bikes. I prefer to explore the city by bike. There are small cafes, restaurant, stores, the market and the old church.”

For people who are thinking of studying at IHE Delft: ‘’It is worth it, because since it took me a lot of time to get here, almost three years, every time that I got disappointed. I had the motivation to keep on going. If you want something, you need to be persistent. It has turned out really great, so I am really happy.’’


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