MSc European Forestry students

Below you can check the video clips made by our students and alumni.

Below you can check the stories of our students and alumni.

Alan Ferreira Batista, Brazil

My name is Alan I´m a Brazilian and I have graduated in the MSc European Forestry in 2012-2014. Definitely, the European Forestry program has changed my life. In addition, the opportunity to live in Europe and especially in Finland has opened my mind and a world of opportunities. I still sometimes think it was a dream these amazing two years, where I could gain a lot of knowledge and make lifetime friends. The introductory course in Sweden was very high level with experts and professors from different institutions coming and giving lectures on European Forestry trends was a warm welcome to the 12 of us. Alongside with the amazing campus of SLU in Skinnskatteberg, where we had a sauna, a rowing boat, a beautiful lake and many amazing dinners. Additionally the applied period which I did in France on microeconomics at the EFI office and the field trip at the end of first year were the highlights of this journey. My thesis work was done on optimization tools and the microeconomics on forest concession management in the Brazilian Amazon, and in 2016 was awarded by the Brazilian Forestry Service as the best monography on the topic of markets and forest economics. I strongly encourage the application to the European Forestry program, as it opens a world of opportunities.

Currently Alan Batista works at the World Resources Institute as an Investment Specialist on economic modelling of forest restoration and reforestation models.”

Emmanuel Da Ponte Canova, Paraguay

One of the things that treasure the most from my MSc period are the incredible people that I meet, (which some became part of my current life), and the life experiences that I got at personal and professional level. There not enough words to describe all the amazing moments lived over those 2 years.  The MSc gave me the opportunity to work within an international environment and challenge myself to reach levels beyond my expectations. The MSc show me that with patience and hard work no dreams is too big or paths to narrow if you set your mind into it. Currently I’m a PhD candidate at the DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Munich researching on Forest Loss in the Atlantic Forest and Ecosystem Services.  

"Mr Emmanuel Da Ponte Canova is currently conducting his PhD studies in Munich, Germany"

Basanta Gautam, Nepal

I am Basanta Gautam from Nepal. I completed a M.Sc. European Forestry from 2006-2008. Before coming to UEF in 2006, I completed a M. Tech. in RS and GIS from India. I started my forestry career by working at one of the most remote national parks in Nepal called Makalu Barun. I had to walk full three days to reach to my duty station! Working in the region where natural resources management and human use move hand in hand, I had a rare opportunity to understand how theory and practice should be in balance in a country like Nepal.

During my study at UEF, I had many opportunities to learn about European countries and their forest management practices. We visited many countries during the course (e.g. Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, France). I completed my master thesis on the topic “Land use change and its impact on soil and water in rural villages in Dadeldhura district, Nepal”. As soon as I completed my master thesis in 2008, I got an opportunity to work in Finnish Forestry Company called Arbonaut. Arbonaut is specialized in RS and GIS based forest mapping particularly using LiDAR technology. I started my career at Arbonaut by working in power line safety assessment project. Since 2010, I have been working as the Manager at REDD+ and Sustainable Forestry Unit at Arbonaut. I have been managing forestry and REDD+ related project in developing countries (e.g. Nepal, Uganda, Cambodia, Pakistan). Currently my position at Arbonaut Ltd. involves REDD+ project design, project management, forest inventory methodology development, conducting field inventories and QA/QC of our projects.

I also represent Arbonaut in many international conferences and meetings such as UNFCCC, UN, EU, FAO, WB, CIFOR, GFOI, etc. I have regularly participated at United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change conferences (COP) since COP15 in 2009. The UNFCCC organises COP each year to discuss issues related to climate change. The COP adopts decisions and resolutions and publishes reports. The COP decisions become a set of rules to be implemented by the parties. The main objective of the conventions is to make decisions to minimize greenhouse gas concen­trations below a level that will prevent human interference with the global climate system. I was very lucky to participate the conference in Paris, France last year where it adopted “Paris Climate Accord” with an ambitious goal to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. I will be participating the COP22 this year in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016. I also participated United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.

I really encourage new students, especially from developing countries, to apply for the upcoming MSc EF courses. This will provide opportunities to adopt practices of blend of knowledge developed in versatile institutions working in Erasmus Mundus Mobility Programme. Please feel free to contact me (basanta.gautam@arbonaut.com) for any assistance and advice.

"Mr Basanta Gautam is currently working as a Manager at REDD+ and Sustainable Forestry Unit at Arbonaut, Finland."

Jaume Gort-Oromi, Spain

Hello, I am Jaume, nowadays working as International Sales Manager in Kesla Oy a Finnish forest machine Manufacturer. Have you ever had this tinkling sensation that you want to go for something more? That you have to try something new? Push forward and beyond? I constantly have it! That is why I moved from Spain and came to Finland to learn and grow as a professional as well as a person. For me the MSc EF programme was the first of many opportunities and new challenges that came afterwards.”

"Mr Jaume Gort-Oromi is nowadays working as International Sales Manager in Kesla Oy, a Finnish forest machine manufacturer."

David Gritten, UK

The clear benefit of the MSc EF programme on a personal level is making lifelong friends. Professionally speaking the MSc EF provided me with an opportunity to continue my studies with a PhD. The opportunities can be seen in the number of former students that are doing PhD's, or working for forest related organisations throughout Europe. For me one of the clearest opportunities offered by the programme was meeting a whole host of experts from academic and professional circles, the kind of people that open doors for you just through having the time to discuss ideas, encouraging the exploration of numerous avenues that I never considered. During my time on the programme and since I graduated one thing has been very clear is that those that get the most out of the MSc EF are those that put most in.

"Dr. David Gritten continued his studies and graduated with a PhD at the University of Eastern Finland. He is currently working for RECOFT, an international NGO that operates in Asia. RECOFT's mission is "To enhance capacities at all levels to assist the people of the Asia-Pacific region in developing community forestry and managing forest resources for optimum social, economic, and environmental benefits."

Alain Joseph, Canada

I am originally from Orléans Canada  – a suburb of the Nation's Capital: Ottawa. I have two major career goals for my life: (1) to become a university professor/researcher and (2) to become the superintendent of one of Canada's beautiful National Parks. I started my student career at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. I spent three years in Lindsay graduating as an Ecosystem Management Technician and as a Parks and Forest Recreation Management Technician. Following this, I spent a fourth year in Fleming at their Haliburton, Ontario campus and got a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Adventure Tourism Management. Knowing full-well that this would not be it for me as a student I then applied to the Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. During my studies at Lakehead University I took some Finnish language courses and decided that I should put them to good use by going on exchange there.

I came to the Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in European Forestry to build on the relationships which I had started during an exchange visit as a Bachelor student. Ever since my first visit to Joensuu I had been searching for an opportunity to return and pursue graduate level studies and the timing was somehow perfect for me. I was particularly interested in the variety of courses which were offered from all of the partner universities and the fact that the programme awarded a double degree. The double degree in particular provides me with an edge over other job applicants and searching for PhD positions.

I have worked several jobs in the past from paper boy to liaison officer, to forest firefighter. The latter of those jobs is the one which has steered me towards an academic career. Mother Nature is a formidable force to be reasoned with and wildfire is one of the ways in which she manifests her power over us. Many aspects of forest disturbances interest me, not only the suppression of wildfire, but what effects decades of suppression have had on our forests. In the course of the MSc EF I have been able to connect with several people who will be able to help me further develop my career in fire ecology and management.

The MSc EF programme has opened doors for me around the world and will help me further my career and enjoy my private life.

"Mr Alain Joseph graduated in European Forestry from the University of Eastern Finland and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and is currently working as a Park Planner at Parks Canada."

Zsuzsanna Peter, Romania

So let’s start the journey. I am guessing you are familiar with forests from the area where you live, so picture a nice evergreen forest, or big old trees with colouring autumnal leaves - how would you describe it? Maybe beautiful and lush? Now imagine different types of forest ecosystems - boreal forests, oak forests, a quite beech forest, alpine meadows, the very famous Black forest, Mediterranean forest, or plain flooded forest; getting there? How about berries, truffles, mushrooms, deer, moose, reindeer, beautiful lakes, lots of snow, bitter cold mornings, northern lights, Santa Claus, only six hours daylight, or sauna followed by ice swimming? Or awesome experiences like biking in - 27°C degree Celsius, sharing international potlucks, being a real tourist, backpacking, setting foot on the Great Wall of China, cruising through 6 different European forests in a month being guided by professional experts in the field of forestry? Getting pretty interesting right? - I hope have woken up your imagination by now! Just to spice it up a little bit more, add Europe’s well-known forestry universities and well-recognised researchers, experts plus twelve awesome people to my story. They are from all around the world with different cultural background, forestry experience and personalities; now picture that you are going to spend two amazing years with them, and the group grows together almost as a family in Europe’s most forested country. Well, I think all this sounded as a fairy-tale or more like a dream - well trust me it was how the whole journey felt.

That was how my journey began. I was over the moon when I got accepted to the programme - is the feeling of your hard work being pay of and a start of a new journey which could be something thrilling and unexpected.

The study programme it was extremely well organised and planned, we got lots of help, guidance and support from the consortium universities from the beginning till the end. It contained lectures, seminars, practical excursion lost of field trips, all the normal curriculum activities which most universities offer during a study programme. But it had something in plus, such as new innovative courses, new study methods, e-learning programs etc. which let us to use and see the latest technology used in forestry and in research-field. We had the opportunity to meet researchers, foresters, engineers, PhD students who shared the result of their work, knowledge, methods and ideas with us. It is something new, which gives a good insight into a different type of paths you could follow after the programme, or for some of us it has given the bases for further studies.

For me it was quite interesting the fact that each member of the group shared a different field of interest and background, that is why we could learn from each other so much. I share the view that this was the best way to fully understand each other’s point of view and have lovely discussions about certain topics problems or issues. We had such controversial, multitudinal views - one wanted to save the rainforests while the other person saw the economic opportunities in managing plantation forests in Brazil. Throughout the study programme I got better ideas and opinions, I saw the problems from a different angle than before while I was able criticize and argue my point of views and understand my colleagues or professors point of view as well. In general this has made me better not only academically, but it changed my personality as well. I believe this has tested all my limits not only by the cold harsh weather. By the end of the programme I got so much out of it - met all these awesome people, made long lasting friendships. And I built up a nice network of forestry students from different parts of the world, not to mention that is has broadened my skills, view of forestry in general, in addition I got something from each member of the group, such us compassion, love for your work, positive attitude, motivation or you name it. Not to mention the fact, that I travelled so much that my friends and family couldn’t decide whether I am studying or travelling.

For new students, I would like to mention, that obviously it is not going to be fairy-tale - there will be ups and downs on your journey, but you will get through with your head hold high by the end with your diplomas in your hand. There will be, exams, essays, you need to meet deadlines and maybe struggle with advanced statistics, but you will have the right people around to help you out if needed. Most of us tend to describe our experience really ‘rosy”- but of course we had to put some hard work to it in order to meet the deadlines and graduate in time.

I am very proud to be part of the MSc EF family. It was a privilege and I cannot recommend highly enough for new applicants including girls or ladies - human perception is that this profession is not for ladies - but I hold a different view - yes is it and can be, just fight for it!

These two years will fly by amazingly fast. You would not even realise how lucky you are to be among the group members. Every time when I hear about one the group member or if someone just randomly mentions the programme, my heart leaps and all the lovely memories come alive. Funnily I still catch myself mentioning my experience from Finland or France. With other words I start my sentence “when I lived in Finland - well, I think an Erasmus alumni can fully understand the meaning of the sentence.

"Miss Zsuzsanna Peter graduated in 2014 in MSc in European Forestry from the University of Eastern Finland and AgroParisTech France- and is currently working as a forest engineer at the Romanian State Forest Institute Enterprise- ROMSILVA."

Muhammad Sohail, Pakistan

I was born in Swat; a small district in the northwest of Pakistan that nature granted with enchanting beauty, prolific fields and enthralling mountains. This is probably due to the nature of this valley that got me mesmerized into sceneries, trees and forests, which ultimately brought me to the field of professional forestry. Due to the nature loving tendency, I always wanted to travel abroad, experiencing the diversity in natural landscapes as well as exploring different cultures and learning new languages.

The programme M.Sc. European Forestry intrigued me not only because of its up-to-date curricula that prepared the graduates to face the current global challenges, such as the climate change in today's scenario, but also because of its expeditious plans that I always dreamt of. Because of this program I happened to see the world in terms of travelling, meeting new people and experiencing unique traditions, which, I suppose, are the key elements in one's personal development. During my Applied Period at IIASA (Austria), I participated in various international workshops and seminars that broadened my professional horizons beyond simple and traditional forestry. Today, I am in very high spirit that I had opted for this course, which proved a milestone in professional career. I simply pay tribute to the organizers and faculty members of participating universities of M.Sc. European Forestry that taught me and my fellows the European Forestry in global context.

"Mr. Muhammad Sohail graduated in European Forestry from the University of  Eastern Finland and Wageningen University (the Netherlands). After successful graduation, Mr. Sohail remained in the Netherlands doing consulting assignments on carbon forestry and climate change for various companies. Now he works as Coordinator with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan in the area of Program Development mainly on climate change and REDD+ projects".