Program of Study: Forest Resources Management
Country of Exchange: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Where did you do your internship?
I worked as a forestry engineering research at Stellenbosch University, Department of Forest and Wood Sciences in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This position has been an on-going internship/exchange between UBC Forestry Co-op and Stellenbosch University. I was the 8th UBC student to go to South Africa.
What did your job entail?
The main duties of my job included continuing work on a research project that was established to improve forest efficiency in South Africa. At this time these projects included skidder time studies to determine the effect of terrain on skidders; log truck tracking studies to determine how road condition affects travel speeds and times; and fiber loss studies examining how log merchandise location (roadside or stump) and felling method (entirely mechanical versus manual with chainsaw) affect fiber losses.
Another key task I had was assisting in the organization of the Fourth Forest Engineering Conference (FEC) held in White River, South Africa during April 5 – 7, 2011. Other duties included editing the FEC conference proceedings, performing guest lectures to 3rd and 4th year students and assisting with other research in the department.
What was the highlight of your international experience?
It is difficult to select one highlight from my time in South Africa because there are so many excellent memories. From a career perspective, it was great to be exposed to research and learn more about operational research in forestry. I also had the chance to help with organizing a conference, which gave me great exposure to the cutting edge research in forest engineering as well as provided great networking opportunities.
From a personal perspective, I truly value the time I spent living in South Africa. Having the chance to live and work in another country really gave me the chance to experience another culture and learn about myself. I really enjoyed our department braais (South African style BBQ) where I had the chance to mingle with other students from both South Africa and the world.
Aspirations after graduation
Although I am considering pursuing my Masters degree, I have not yet decided on which field I would specifically like to study. After graduation, I plan to work for a year to determine where my interests lie. I would also love to have the chance to travel abroad, maybe even back to South Africa!