Clara Maria Recinos Arenas is from Guatemala. She has a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Since she was young, Clara always wanted to work in the water sector, maybe moved by her father working in this sector, but also by her interest in understanding how wastewater treatments work and how to apply these principles to the reality of Guatemala. To work towards this objective, she did a Master’s in sanitary engineering in Guatemala covering general sanitation in relation to different environmental aspects, but she wanted to specialize more in the area related to wastewater. At that time she also worked at a company designing wastewater treatment plants. In her work, she noticed that there was a gap between what she knew and how to apply it adequately in the real conditions of the projects, to achieve the objectives of the treatment. Clara wanted to learn and know more about other technologies to improve the designs. This is how she found IHE Delft.
How she heard about IHE Delft: ‘’The Netherlands is known for its specialized knowledge in the water sector. I searched for different programmes but the one IHE Delft was offering was what I really liked, so I applied. I chose IHE Delft, because when I read the description of the Master’s I realized that it was orientated to solutions that can be implemented in developing countries like Guatemala, and that will work better considering the real condition of my country. I also searched for scholarships and saw that Guatefuturo, my sponsor, was open to support my studies in this kind of programme.”
About problems in her home country: ‘’Guatemala has different sources of water that can be used, but one of the big problems is that wastewater is almost not treated before discharging it to the environment, thereby polluting these sources. This situation causes a lot of public health problems, eutrophication of important lakes of the country, and makes drinking water production much more expensive.”
Clara about the teaching style at IHE Delft: ‘’The professors have knowledge and experience in the subjects they teach. The study pace is fast, but I like it. I feel that I’m learning a lot. I’m beginning to solve some of the problems I faced when working.”
‘’My goal was to learn more about efficient wastewater treatment plants that can be easily operated in Guatemala. But now after having this classes, I also want to be part of a team that is responsible for designing large wastewater treatment plants, for municipalities and communities for example, that will have a bigger impact on Guatemalan water in reality.’’
Clara about the first weeks: ‘’The introduction week was very fun. It is always interesting to get to know people from very different parts of the world, even if you are a shy person as I am. I think that activities in this week made me think about my objectives to study here, but also about other realities, including the one of the place where we are living now: Delft”
About life in Delft: ‘’Delft has a small population, compared with Guatemala City and it is a beautiful and peaceful place. The architecture and canals are nice to see and cycling all over the place is cool. Almost everyone knows English and are very kind, so communication is not a problem. And you can easily go to other cities in The Netherlands from here!’’
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