‘I’m just a lucky guy’

| Jelle Posthuma

In the series The International, UT students from all over the world talk about their lives, studies, choices and passions. In this episode: Alberto Rosas Aguilar (28), master student Sustainable Energy Technology. ‘As an international you should know: you’re never alone in this world.’

‘I was born in Mexico, in Coatzacoalcos to be precise. After some time, we moved to Xalapa where I grew up. Not a very big city by Mexican standards, but much larger than Enschede. I heard about the UT, and the Sustainable Energy Technology program, from a roommate in Mexico. He had studied in Twente. Moreover, the Netherlands is known in the world as a sustainable country. Everyone cycles here. How sustainable do you want it to be? This is the perfect study and the perfect country for me, I thought.’

‘After studying here for half a year, I now realize that the Netherlands is not that sustainable at all. The opposite is true. You do everything on gas - because of the giant gas field in the North - and you have a high ecological footprint. Off course, I understand. You have gas, so you will use it. And those bikes contribute to the image of a sustainable nation, but at the same time everyone has a car at their doorstep. It was an eye opener for me.’

Loneliness

‘My first months in the Netherlands I had no roommate. As an international student you are alone sometimes, that's just the way it is. But I think you should never feel lonely. There are so many people in this world. You can always meet someone. When was the last time you really had no one around you, for miles around? It’s a simple math problem. In the Netherlands there is always another person within a few meters. You just have to leave the house.’

‘From a sustainability perspective, it is also an interesting topic, the huge amount of people on one globe. I'm obsessed with it. There are many resources in the world, but at the same time they are limited. Ask yourself: why am I entitled to a cell phone, or a fridge, and someone in Africa is not? I think we can feed everyone on the planet, but not everyone can eat meat every day. We can shelter everyone, but we cannot all live in a three-story mansion. The realization must arise that it is our planet and not the planet. We have to take care of our planet together. But for that to happen we still have to overcome a lot of ignorance.’

Mexico

‘Ignorance is caused by a lack of education. I mean, look at Mexico. It’s the most beautiful place on earth, but at the same it’s the most mismanaged place. There are many uneducated people, and that keeps the population ignorant. My family comes from a similar situation. My parents were not rich and had little education. But what they missed in education, they made up for in their working lives. They worked their asses off. Moreover, they were lucky with their business. They were in the music industry, selling CDs and cassettes. In the period that a lot of money could be made from it, just before the internet.’

‘Thanks to my parents, my sisters and I have been able to get a good education. Thanks to them we were able to escape intellectual poverty. My father also had the awareness to send us to an expensive private school, where they taught English. You do not learn English at public schools in Mexico. Thanks to him, and thanks to a scholarship, I now have the opportunity to study abroad.’

Goals

‘In the coming year, I will focus on my study. After that I would like to stay in the Netherlands. I think that in the Netherlands, where the innovation level is much higher than in Mexico, I can contribute the most to a sustainable future. The environment requires innovation at the highest level. My ambition is not to become rich. Fuck money. I have the ambition to save the environment. That’s my ultimate goal. But I also know: I can't do that alone.’

‘I see myself as a lucky guy. After my studies in Mexico I have been kayaking in Chile for a long period. In my heart I am a rough guy. I love nature and especially whitewater. We lived in Chile from nature 24/7. At that moment, I realized how impressive, but also how vulnerable our environment is. That is where my passion for sustainability arose. I am very happy that I have had this experience. Like I said, I'm a lucky guy. Lucky that I could learn English, that I discovered the rugged nature in Chile, got a scholarship abroad and that my roommate told me about the UT.’

(Photo - Hung Nguyen)