At Wageningen Student Plaza, it is sometimes difficult not to drown in the whirling stream of calls to participate in all manner of surveys, questionnaires and studies. I urge you to join a couple every month. When your turn comes to write your thesis and do your own research, it becomes clear how great it is to have a decent number of participants. Moreover, it gives you a pleasant half-hour break in your study-day and a cycling trip to the university.
During the experiments, you get to talk to master students and PhD students about your own, or an entirely different, field of study, which may help you discern what type of research you may find interesting or not at all. The beauty is that all of the studies are so different. There are studies on topics you would have never even thought would be investigated.
I took an MRI scan while being read to in Hindi
Just now, I had tubes up my nostrils while chewing raw and cooked red cabbage, I walked around a virtual supermarket with the help of VR goggles, I was filmed during the biting off and spitting out of cheese, I took an MRI scan while being read to in Hindi, and I was asked to non-verbally indicate the spiciness of Chinese soup samples. Total haul: a supply of Bounty bars, Twixes and Snickers to rival any child at Halloween, some thirty gift coupons with a value ranging from €5 to €25, and a broadening of my knowledge in fields I never even thought existed, and a great number of grateful students and PhD candidates.
In addition to the research at the university, I am also registered with two agencies that conduct taste experiments: SCO and Essendor. You receive approximately two emails a week with a screener to see whether you are within the product target group. If so, you are invited to come to the research centre located on the Marijkeweg, where you earn ten euros by tasting something for about fifteen minutes.
Over the past weeks, I tasted vegan beef tartar (disgusting), zero alcohol wheat beer (quite alright), and a fully plant-based faux hard-boiled egg (excuse me, what?). It is quite apparent in what target group they have me. Oh well, as long as they keep inviting me, I won’t be complaining.
Oscar Delissen is a third-year bachelor’s student in Food Technology. He enjoys cooking with sharp knives and colourful festival shirts.