Creating something new, out of nothing – That was my first thought when I heard the term “research hatchery”. My team was very international, consisting of one Chinese, one Polish, one Nepalese, one German and me, an Austrian, therefore the working language was English all the time.
The topic of our hatchery was “WastED – Every waste can be a new resource” therefore, first I tried to get familiar with waste management systems in my home country and I was really impressed with the facts I found, for example the high waste production per person or the leading position of waste management in Europe. I am sure that I will see waste management with fresh eyes, after my return home.
Further, as a second and main task, we had to evaluate the online learning module “WastED”, which is an online product created by TUAS. It contains ten different modules, two free courses for everyone and eight premium courses. Each module consists of two credits and after finishing the course, the participants will get a certificate from TUAS. The online learning platform is provided by Online University of Finland.
From the first meeting on, we met regularly and had extra discussions on our Facebook group. One of the hardest things was to define what exactly we had to do, as it was not clear enough in the first few weeks and I was quite unmotivated and depressed in this phase. Nevertheless, there was soon a very intensive meeting with all of our group members and after long, exhausting discussions and brainstorming, we suddenly got a clue, what and how to do. For me, this was one of the most important meetings, since I suddenly became very motivated and happy about our findings. Additionally, we faced the problem in motivating participants to help us with our work as well, for example when we created two surveys.
After a few weeks, I recognized that working with people with such different backgrounds and education systems is sometimes not so easy, but with a lot of work and discussions, as well as trying to understand different cultures, we faced and managed the problems very well.
Finally, one month before the deadline for our delivery, the final and critical phase of our project started. For me personally, this time was quite exhausting but as I stood in front of my teachers while presenting our final results, I felt so proud because the whole group had done a such good job and even though unforeseeable problems, we worked and stayed together as a group.
Thanks TUAS for this amazing and educational experience, I will never forget my time with my awesome team here!
-Julia Fladenhofer, WastED Research hatchery