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Harry Auke Venema: IEM-Project 2018/2019

IEM-Project 2018/2019 goes to Colombia!
By the time of writing this story, it is exactly two months ago that the trip to Colombia started; a 3-week study trip being the last activity of the largest project for master students of Industrial Engineering and Management. For the ones that have start reading this story and have no clue about what the IEM-Project is, a short explanation is given below.

The IEM-Project is organized once every two years, in which IEM master students perform case-studies at interesting companies like AkzoNobel (Nouryon), VDL, Enexis or AAK. These consultancy cases demand 140 hours of work per student, which is spread over a time-period of 14 weeks. This means that as a master student of IEM, you get the opportunity to conduct an internship at a big company, which offers not only experience and interesting contacts, but also 5 extracurricular ECTs. As if that was not enough already, the project is concluded with a ‘free’ study trip that takes the complete group to a destination outside of Europe for 3 weeks.

The destination of the study trip for this edition of the IEM-Project was chosen to be Colombia. With a group of 30 master students of IEM, consisting of 24 participants and 6 board members, the trip officially started on the 6th of August. We started off in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, which is located at an altitude of 2,640 metres above sea level. We did a lot of things during our stay in this immense city: we explored Bogotá by bike, learned about the stories behind the graffiti on the walls and visited a gigantic salt mine which brought us to 60 meters below the ground. Besides many more activities, we also got to know how Chevrolet cars are made in the local factory of General Motors. During the evenings, we went out with the group to get some delicious Colombian food and learned how to perform the best salsa dance from beautiful local Colombians.

On the fifth day, we moved to the most famous coffee region of Colombia with a private touring car. Our stay here was amazing as we had a private villa including swimming pool, tennis court and a football field. During the 3 days of our stay, we saw the highest palm trees in the world, picked our own coffee beans at a traditional coffee farm and made sure we stayed in shape by doing some horse riding through the hills of the Andes and ziplining from the top of one tree to another. A truly memorable activity was Yin Yang Yoga with a special touch. The special interpretation of this relaxing therapy can be asked to the people who joined this amazing trip.


The next five days were spent in Medellín, famous from the Netflix series called ‘Narcos’. We learned a lot about the recent history of the city and the problems it faced only a few decades ago. In this light, it must be said that none of the biased expectations of this city and the country of Colombia are true. As in every country cautiousness is important, but we experienced Colombia as a completely safe country. In Medellín we visited a leather factory and saw how leather shoes, bags and belts are being made from scratch. Besides that, we went to Guatapé, a colourful little city, where we climbed a 200-metre-high rock to enjoy an amazing view. During the other days, we blew off some steam during a game of paintball, played some soccer against local kids and saw Medellín from another perspective during paragliding.

After these first two weeks, it was time to leave the midlands for the Caribbean Sea. After a 1-hour flight we landed in Santa Marta and immediately drove to Tayrona National Park, which is a jungle at the coast of Colombia. A hike of 2 hours took us to our sleeping place, which was a beautiful hostel with 30 hammocks waiting for us in the middle of the jungle. Some enjoyed it more than others, as we saw not only playing monkeys, but also a tarantula and even a wild alligator with a length of 3 metres during our stay. After one night, we took the hike back through the jungle to depart for our last destination, Cartagena.

In Cartagena, we visited the oil refinery of the last company, called Ecopetrol, which is the largest oil company of Colombia. We also tasted the delicious street food during an interesting tour from a local and went out into the sea to see some colourful fish during some diving or snorkelling. One of the best activities to do in this vivid city is the so-called Chiva Bus tour. For 3 consecutive hours, you will drive through the city in a bus with no windows while blasting your own music through the speakers. With PartySquad, De Jeugd van Tegenwoording and especially Henry van Loon’s ‘Fuifje’ through the speakers, this evening was one of the moments to remember. Our last activity was to sleep at the Rosario Islands for one night. But, how do you get 30 people to an island which is 5 hours away from the coast? Exactly, make sure you get a private catamaran with enough sunscreen and enough to drink and eat. While our tender Dutch skin could not be protected by the sunscreen, the traditional Lugus Radio was organized through the 2 big speakers on the deck. An amazing closure of 3 weeks that none of the students will ever forget! 

Did you get excited and do you want to organize this amazing trip yourself? The applications for the IEM-Project board 2020/2021 will be open from the 11th of November until the 20th of December. Do you have questions about what organizing this project entails, what the workload is or just want to talk with someone from the former board, don’t hesitate to contact one of us!

Harry Auke Venema         +31 6 12890328


Vice-Chairman (Internal Relations)                 
Roel Jacobs                      +31 6 81378065

Vice-Chairman (External Relations)               
Matthijs Breukers             +31 6 21813794


Freek Burgers                   +31 6 29245331

External Relations                                           
Jasper Vreenegoor           +31 6 49980749

External Relations                                           
Steven Krijnen                  +31 6 26876661                

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