In the Monsoon School, Oceans & Lakes goes to a South partner country (VLIR-UOS partner country) for 2 weeks with its students. With the goal of translating academic theory and training into practice and real-life cases, students are divided into groups and are then assigned a tender to work on, related to a local topic. They write a report as a consultant for a specific stakeholder. The group of students is organized into smaller groups; each group is a mix of students of different backgrounds, interests and cultures, to prepare for future real-life professional situations.
Each group of students first makes a visit to the location of their topic, to get a sense of the situation. They then dive into the scientific literature and they consult experts on the topic (Oceans & Lakes alumni and other experts). After this, they interview different stakeholders. They then prepare a field visit for their fellow students to introduce their topic. At the end of the Monsoon School, each group presents a draft report on the tender.
In the Monsoon School of 2020 for example, Oceans & Lakes went to Kenya, more specifically to Gazi Bay and to Mida-Watamu. The tenders of the year involved topics such as plastic waste in marine and coastal environments, impact of tourism on megafauna, sustainable aquaculture, conservation of coral reefs, coastal erosion, mangrove restoration and conservation; all based on real-life situations in the coastal areas of Gazi and Mida-Watamu, Kenya.
The Monsoon School is a project course funded by VLIR-UOS, and is a part of the ‘south’ component of Oceans & Lakes.
It is a mandatory course for all VLIR-UOS applicants, and an optional course for all other students.