Educating future experts – meet our international students

Plant production sciences, environment and natural resources, biotechnology. Those are the disciplines in which our department offers international Master’s Programmes. The three programmes, PPS, MENVI and MBIOT, have attracted over 100 students to our department from around the world since 2005. We took a little time to interview our international students for the blog.

Atte, Catherine and Farhan are all students in MENVI, Master’s Degree Programme in Environment and Natural Resources. The programme is a shared one between two departments. In MENVI students choose between four majors, agroecology, environmental engineering in agriculture, microbiology or environmental soil science. The three chose MENVI because they were interested in environmental and sustainability issues. “My background in Bachelor level education was in agriculture, and I was looking for something in Finland”, Catherine explains.

Learning about agriculture

“Before coming to Finland, I only had a general picture about agriculture. Now that I’ve taken specific courses on agricultural production, I am confident about developing such systems in my own country”, Farhan says when asked if his expectations have been met when studying in MENVI. “But I could have learned even more about plants and animals, basic agricultural stuff”, he continues. Catherine and Atte agree. They think some pre-reading or introductory courses to agriculture might have helped in their studies. “There could be a joint introductory course about agriculture for all MENVI students, at least for us in agroecology and environmental engineering in agriculture”, Farhan suggests.

Getting started

MENVI students from left: Atte Penttilä (agroecology), Catherine Schreurs (agroecology), Sobowale Sotunde (environmental engineering in agriculture), Farhan Pavel Kobi (environmental engineering in agriculture)

A smooth start is always important for settling in, especially in a foreign country. “I was really amazed by the first meeting with my professor, Laura Alakukku. When she saw me, she already knew my name and was very helpful”, Farhan says. Catherine said it took her a little time to adapt to the studying rhythm. Atte remembers that tutors were helpful and there was a nice crowd of people around.

All three have found great friends in the programme. “Friends are really the best memory for me, I’ve been lucky”, Farhan sums up.

Inspiration along the study road

Finally, we asked if there were any particular persons who have acted as mentors or inspiration for our interviewees during their MENVI studies. Atte begins: “For me, it has been Tomas Roslin, the supervisor for my Master’s thesis. One could say he is a super supervisor.” Farhan continues: “In my studies, our department’s PhD student Mikko Hakojärvi has been a great teacher and support”. “I’ve been impressed by Irina Herzon and her teaching methods”, Catherine finishes the list.

Next time we’ll interview some of our PPS and MBIOT students. Stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *