Thursday early in the morning we all gathered in front of Polder at Science Park to wait for the bus. It was still dark and not that warm, but we were all exited to go on a study trip. So when the bus after some delay finally arrived, we went on our way to Belgium.
Written by: Marijke Faber, first-year student Forensic Science 2016-2017
Our first excursion was to the University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA). The main topics were forensic pathology and medicine, toxicology, DNA analysis and psychiatry. Pathology means of course some little bit gross pictures. Something that I always strike as funny is the fact that the speakers on those topics always worn us about the grossyness of those pictures and that if we cannot handle it we should leave the room. I always think at that point, if you cannot handle those pictures you should maybe change studies. It is interesting to see what the difference is between forensic pathology and forensic medicine. I have a background in Chemical Engineering and Applied Physics. The master Forensic Science itself starts with a chemistry oriented course and statistics, so this was the first time for me to learn about what happens with bodies when they decompose. I can tell you, some of the things I did not expect at all. For example when a Caucasian lies dead in a room for a couple of days it can start to look like a Afro-American, because it all bloats up and turns black. So when not aware of this effect you could misidentify the race of this person. After the excursion we went to our hostel in Brussels and had dinner together in the city centre and ended the day with some drinks.
Everyone has a certain idea about what Forensic Science is. I always thought it was in the DNA, pathology range or Chemistry, for example explosives or drugs. Digital forensics is also up and coming, but there is a side where I never really thought of, Forensic Accountancy. On the second day we went to the Institute of Fraud Auditors (IFA) in Antwerp. Fraud and money laundering, mainly within big companies, is big business and not only for the criminals. We were welcomed by a very nice Dutch man, who was proud of introduce students from the Netherlands to the institute and Belgium. Here we got an introduction into forensic accountancy, unfortunately we found out that you need at least an accountancy bachelor to work in this field, but it is nice to see what else is there in the field of forensics outside our own scope. The excursion ended in a tour by our Dutch guide trough Antwerp, which was a beautiful city. The day was ended in Brussels with a pub crawl where the “best pubs” of Brussels were experienced.
The last day, Saturday, was a day off to do what every you want and by most of people, including me, used to visit the highlights of the city, before heading back to Amsterdam. This study trip is of course a nice way to get know each other and create a bond. Well we did get that opportunity, but not in the way you would expect. Remember the dinner we had on Thursday? It was a nice evening, we had the dinner together, had some drinks and for some people it became a short night. Everyone liked the lentil soup, but all toilets were occupied though out the whole evening. It became one of those experience we still talk and joke about, but of course we will not let happen again. I really enjoyed the trip and for that reason I decided to organise the next one. We are going to Switzerland and for all the new students who reads this, I hope you will enjoy your study trip as much as I did mine!