Student testimonial

Student Raphael Zürcher – MSc Geo Information Science

My background lies in Environmental Engineering with a specialisation in Organic Agriculture. In my Bachelor’s at Zurich University of Applied Science, I took very diverse courses, ranging from chemistry, biology, geo-information science, psychology to food science and Arabic in my exchange semester at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. I wrote my bachelor thesis in Cambodia within Smiling Gecko, an NGO where I also worked and set up a fish feed production on a cradle to cradle basis and conducted experiments. Besides my degree, I did the military service, civil service, worked in a start-up and a bigger company in the agricultural sector.

’WUR and this master give me the opportunity to combine many technical fields with agriculture and environmental sciences, which was crucial for me.

As my interests are very broad, I was looking for a general applicable, but very skill-based masters. Initially, I applied to 3 Masters at Wageningen University, one at Maastricht University and one at a university in Switzerland, all within a different discipline. In the end, I chose the Master of Geo-Information Science at WUR, because it is mostly skill-based, the skills have many applications in different fields and the job market is relatively good. In addition, WUR and this master give me the opportunity to combine many technical fields with agriculture and environmental sciences, which was crucial for me.

Experiences and courses
As it was the year 2020, the year of Covid-19, many things were unclear for a lot of people. I decided if I could go to university, I wanted to study on-site, thus I moved to Wageningen at the start of the degree. The first courses were partly offline and in the second period, everything moved online due to the pandemic. Even though all online, the experience at WUR and the setup of courses surprised me in a very positive way as many things were still interactive and very exciting. The multicultural MGI degree includes people with diverse backgrounds with an eagerness to learn and interesting stories. The whole degree is built on a very strong backbone but has still some flexibility in choosing courses. I chose the rather data science driven path with the Machine Learning and Deep Learning course. Overall, the courses, even though applied in many fields and interdisciplinary with many students from Bioinformatics, contained geo-information within the specific projects of the courses. I really enjoyed applying many different techniques and data formats to agricultural and environmental fields within the geo-information domain. Working with LiDAR and drones was really exciting for me. Further, combining the LiDAR point clouds with Unreal Game Engine and building a digital twin of the campus within a side project of the Academic Consultancy Training in a dynamic group of five students was really rewarding. Also, working with professional external stakeholders in this course helped me to learn a lot. To sum up, I did not regret a single minute of having chosen this master as it was challenging and interesting.

Future Steps
For my personal prospect, I would like to work in a multinational company with employment possibilities all around the world. Starting up myself even with people from my WUR network could also be an option. First comes first, I will write my thesis in the coming months and then do my internship.

Combining the basis of our civilisation, our agriculture with technology can help combat our challenges. With Geo-Information Science and Data Science, agriculture and other fields can be augmented in efficiency and resource consumption for more intergenerational and intragenerational fairness, thus I would like to combine my background and this master.

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