We interviewed Justyna Gucwa, a master’s student that joined the project, about her achievements and experiences in Food Waste research.

What was your motivation, and what did you want to learn or achieve by joining the HES-GEO?

I had never participated in such a large project at a university before, so everything was a new experience. First, I wanted to see how it works in such a large structure and with people from foreign universities. The project allowed me to participate in various training here in Poland and abroad, so I improved my teamwork skills.

Also, I like the subject of research conducted by our team, which corresponds to my private interests (the issue of food waste in households from the perspective of women).

My additional motivation was also the desire to improve my language skills and the fact that I appreciate the cooperation with Magdalena Kubal-Czerwińska, who was previously the supervisor of my BA thesis.

What was/is the most challenging part of the project?

Doing research as part of the project was a demanding time for me. In the study, we obtained the data necessary to write an article on the issue of food waste in households from the perspective of women. Our team was divided into smaller groups – some members created the database, and the rest (including me) was responsible for conducting in-depth interviews with Polish women who run their households.

Previously, I only completed questionnaires, for example, for my bachelor’s thesis. In-depth interviews and their subsequent transcription were a new experience, but I think I managed it well. It was difficult for me because I simultaneously had other university responsibilities, so I had to learn to reconcile the essential duties of a student with additional activities.

What made you happy you accomplished during the project?

I was very satisfied with the completion of our research (in-depth interviews) and the opportunity to publish the results of our work. We were able to present our results at national and international scientific conferences.

In addition, I was pleased when I could go to Belgium for a few days as part of the project. We took part in the writing training and publishing scientific articles, and we had the opportunity to visit Brussels and Leuven, where the host university is located.

How the project influenced your plans?

Initially, I considered starting doctoral studies, but eventually, I gave up on this idea. The project showed me how such a large structure as the university environment works. So the learned mechanisms of working in large groups and other skills gained during the project will be helpful in my future professional work.

Would you recommend others to join similar projects?

Participation in international projects during studies is a valuable experience for every student. The subject of scientific projects is hugely diverse, so you can find something in the field of your interest.

The projects allow you to learn new skills and improve your language and social skills. Even if you don’t plan a career at the university, the acquired skills and experience can be handy in your future life or professional work.