Program of Study: TRANSFOR Masters
University and Country of Exchange: University of Freiburg, Germany
Why did you choose the TRANSFOR Masters Program?
I chose the TRANSFOR-M program because I realized that it was the perfect opportunity to continue my studies in a field that I am very interested in, to gain a more global view in my field, to meet new people, and to experience a new culture.
There have been many highlights in the TRANSFOR-M program, so it is impossible to choose only one: the field course across Canada was interesting; my introductory German language course sparked an interest in learning the language in more depth; the courses in the Forest Ecology and Management program have introduced me to a European (and generally global) perspective in Forestry; and my internship with the local forestry research organization was also a great learning experience. Now, I’m looking forward to the upcoming field course across Europe, which I’m sure will prove to be yet another incredible highlight.
Memorable International Experience
“So what do you study?” asked the banker, making polite conversation while setting me up with an account upon my arrival in Freiburg. Although he spoke perfect English, I had just learned how to respond to that question in my language course, so I tried to respond in German: “Ich studiere Foerstwissenschaft. Spaeter, bin ich ein Foerster.” You can just imagine the shade of red that I turned after this quiet banker burst into loud laughter, then showed me pictures from Google of a stereotypical German Foerster (see picture). Basically, I had said: “I study forestry. Later, I will become a stereotypical German Foerster with a dog, glass of wine, pocket-watch, green outfit and hat.”
… despite a few hiccups like this, I have actually found learning the language to be a big highlight of my stay here. I have also enjoyed getting involved in other forestry-related activities (eg. speaking at a “science slam”, speaking about Forestry in Canada to several international audiences, and organizing events and traveling to France and Turkey with the International Forestry Student’s Association). Plus, all the Germans that I have met have been incredibly friendly and helpful (and very patient with my feeble attempts at speaking their language). I feel incredibly lucky to have met such a wonderful group of people here. The only downside is going to be saying goodbye…
I have built up an appetite for more school, but who knows where in the world that will take me!