Ena Voûte Design Engineering Excellence Scholarship (2023)
Each year TU Delft faculties offer a small number of scholarships with the aim of attracting the world’s brightest students. From 2023 onwards, IDE’s bursary will be known as the Ena Voûte Design Engineering Excellence Scholarship in honour of the faculty’s former dean and current Pro Vice Rector of International Affairs for TU Delft. The annual scholarship (worth 50,000 Euros over two years) is awarded to an exceptional international, non-EU master’s student.
Ena commented: "As a former student and dean, I know the value of a degree from this faculty. How wonderful then that this scholarship offers the opportunity of studying design in Delft to the most talented of international students who otherwise may not be able to afford to do so. I am very honoured."
We sat down to talk to the current scholarship holder, Carolina Sanchez Villegas.
Can you tell us a about your journey to TU Delft?
I graduated with a bachelors in industrial design engineering at EAFIT in Medellin, Columbia 3 years ago. I knew about TU Delft because EAFIT has a good relationship with TU Delft. I met a few TU Delft students who were at EAFIT for their exchange and one of my valued professors at EAFIT was Marcela Velasquez, an alumna from TU Delft. I worked for three years as a service designer before I decided I would like to pursue a MSc. With this experience I feel I can really appreciate the MSc and look differently at it.
I always had the dream of going abroad. This programme offered me a lot of things that I was lacking, I wanted to learn more and go deeper. I wanted to focus on the strategic side of design and have always been attracted to healthcare. The SPD programme with the specialisation in Medisign fits my interests perfectly. In Colombia there are a lot of gaps in healthcare that cause social problems, some people for example, live far away from hospitals in little towns and do not have easy access to healthcare. They have to get there by foot or donkey.
What made you apply to the scholarship?
The conversion rate from Colombian dollar to euro is really high. For almost everyone in Colombia, studying abroad really expensive. The living expenses in Europe are also higher of course. I needed a scholarship to gethere. Without it, I could not be here. So, basically that is what motivated me to apply for this scholarship.
And then you had to wait…
I told my boss that I was applying for the scholarship and if I would not get it I would stay with the company. He was very supportive. Every day I woke up and thought about the working hours in Delft. When it was already five o’clock in Delft, I thought ‘they are not working anymore and I will have to wait another day’. I was always refreshing my e-mail.
One day I was having breakfast and I received the letter and I was so happy and I immediately called my mom and dad. It was a really exciting moment, a highlight in my life. I feel that it is a combination of everything that you have worked for in your life so far - in combination with how you present yourself and why you are the right match - but also of course, luck came into it too! I am thankful that I am here and get to work with a lot of great people here. I have already grown a lot as a person in the six months that I have been here and there is a lot of growing to do still.
What surprised you most about the Netherlands and IDE?
In the Netherlands, it is quiet and everything works perfectly here. As opposed to my home town Medellin, a really big and messy city. And when it comes to IDE: the way of teaching. The way the students are trusted to make their own of the assignment and allowing the students to be independent and critical.
How do you like it here in general?
I like the mix of cultures. You can always learn new things if you are open. When you stay home you stay with the same people and the same views that you have grown up with. Being here, teaches you about how other people live and about their morals and ethics. You can also evaluate how you grew up. You are not always right and not always wrong either. I like it that IDE has a lot of very inspiring teachers. I want to be like that when I am older. After graduation I hope to gain work experience in the Netherlands and give back some of what I am learning here.