Bachelor: BSc Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges. Major: Sustainability
Master: MSc Forest and Nature Conservation. Specialisation: Ecology
Choosing a Master
When I first heard of Leiden University College, my interest was sparked directly; LUC offers a small-scale but high quality program, and an international and interdisciplinary environment. As I have many interests, LUC was a dynamic but safe place where I could get to know what academic topics suited me best. Sustainability, and more precisely, nature protection, were areas that connected with my views deeply, and as I advanced in the program, I became more convinced that I wanted to continue studying ecological systems.
After graduating, I wanted to find a Master program that was going to give me the best preparation for a career in nature conservation and research. Also, I had come to appreciate the international environment, and the high flexibility that the personalized LUC program offers, and wanted to find a University with similar qualities. As Wageningen is one of the highest ranked universities when it comes to environmental research, has a high percentage foreign students and offers many options for the personalization of the study program, I chose to apply here.
Experience in Wageningen
Before I got to Wageningen, I was afraid that I would have substantial gaps in knowledge concerning biology and ecology. Yet, after I had taken some courses, I felt more at ease. Firstly, many MSc Forest and Nature students come from different backgrounds. This means in practice that the program is adjusted to this and builds up the necessary knowledge at a fair pace. Secondly, I discovered that the Sustainability track at LUC had prepared me well for discussions on the key topics (e.g. Climate change, Ecosystem Services) we cover at Wageningen.
The most striking change between Wageningen and LUC is that at Wageningen, we have many more contact hours (including working groups). Thus, the workload is high, as more topics and skills are covered in a group setting, but there is less individual work.
Socially, Wageningen has been a pleasant surprise. It has been easy to meet new likeminded individuals, especially as the student association is very active. Also, the professors at Wageningen do teach large classes, but they are very approachable. These things combined create a very nice study environment.
I am actively expanding my knowledge of plants, the functioning of ecosystems and modelling. As Wageningen offers a very broad range of classes, I am excited about the opportunities to take some additional courses in related fields. Also, next year my study program incorporates an internship period, which I think will give me valuable working experience.