Internationals go Greifswald
Studies in home country
Forestry (B.Sc.), College of Forestry, Birsa Agricultural university, India (2012)
Activity in Greifswald
Master of Science Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation (LENC)
August 2016 - September 2018
Why did I come to Germany?
"I wanted to enhance my professional knowledge in conservation, and that I aspired to achieve from a new environment. University of Greifswald bestowed me with the privilege and the new journey began. The wonderful experiences followed later.
After graduating with a B.Sc. Forestry degree from India, I was working as a conservationist at a national park in my country, Bhutan. As conservationists, we confront many challenges in safeguarding the pristine natural forests and protecting the wildlife in it. We have communities within the national parks and enabling a harmonious coexistence between people and nature is very important for us. Wildlife too need a freedom of movement and protected areas alone don’t serve the purpose. I felt that a landscape approach to conservation is the most viable solution to this. I felt an urgency to enhance my professional knowledge and I wanted to achieve it from a new environment. My quest for the ideal combo then began.
While there are many exciting courses and places worldwide, yet finance was a major constraint. For an aspirant from a developing country, it’s hard to manage even the daily subsistence in a developed country, let alone the huge course fees. But there are countries like Germany where no substantial fee are collected for pursuing university degrees if you are enthusiastic and competent. Moreover, there is DAAD, the largest German support organisation in the field of international academic co-operation. DAAD supports scholars from many developing nations to pursue higher education in Germany and I saw the hope to study in Germany.
More than glad, I found that Landscape Ecology & Nature Conservation (LENC) at the University of Greifswald have support from DAAD and lucky enough, I was among the few who got selected to pursue the course of my aspiration in a new place in 2016. I marked the first footprint of Bhutan in Greifswald. That was the journey and experiences followed later."
September 2018 - My conclusion
What I liked the most in Greifswald
I come from the countryside in Bhutan so I expected Greifswald would be a metro city, but reaching here, I found it small and beautiful. The ambience in Greifswald is very similar to where I come from so I got acclimatized to the place very easily. Without much hustles and bustles, and with serene environment, it’s a perfect place to live specially for studying the course like Landscape Ecology. The city is cycle friendly and cycle almost every day, and that’s the best thing we can do in Greifswald, because it is ecological friendly and good for our health.
What was difficult for me
Language was a barrier for me. When I came to Germany, I was well aware that English is not the spoken language here so I was determined to learn German and exhibit it with pride. However, German language was too tough for me to learn because I was more focussed on the subjects of my study. I couldn’t learn German as aspired so in some situations, I really feel awkward not knowing how to get my things done. It is specially challenging when I have to visit the clinic or a doctor and when the doctor don’t speak English. But, I have German friends and they are so helpful, so I don’t have to worry much.
What I learned
Being in a new environment with multicultural interactions, I am enriched with memoirs of intercultural coexistence, which was further enhanced by programmes organized in the university such as intercultural exchanges, international day, Greifswald summer school etc. Besides the academic knowledge, one thing which we can learn in Greifswald is the coexistence of diverse cultures. I am glad to have friends from all major continents of the world. All I can take along is the good memories.
September 2018 - Graduation
Exactly six years ago, in September 2012, I graduated from Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, India with a Bachelor's degree.
And exactly after six years since my graduation with Bachelor of Science degree from India, September 2018 marked yet another achievement in my life from Germany. I felt immense joy when I could successfully present my master thesis, the last hurdle in accomplishing a Master of Science degree in my programme, Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation.
This time, it was totally a different feeling from what I went through in 2012 after graduation. Being a kid raised by single mother in a far-flung remote village, I was always able to set the best precedence to my fellow village kids. I may not be the best but what I gave was my best and my best effort always yielded satisfying results at the end. I am glad, I could achieve this and make my mother and siblings proud. I am humbled as I set a higher precedence record for my fellow younger village kids by becoming the first to attain a masters degree from our small hamlet of Darlo. I feel satisfied with the thesis I wrote as it addressed one pertinent gap in conservation in Bhutan; assessing the structural connectivity of a biological corridor for tiger movement between national parks in Bhutan, and more than glad that my peers in the department have now started following my suite in studying in Germany by availing the prestigious DAAD scholarship.
And this time as a fresh graduate as I return home, I don't have to be anxious about my job placements as the Royal Government of Bhutan has securely reserved my place to take conservation actions forward with my enhanced professional knowledge. Therefore, this graduation brings in me a sense of jubilation, accomplishment, humbleness, with a deep sense of gratitude to many people who helped me fare the journey well, and of course with more responsibility.
July 2018 - A plea for Greifswald
Greifswald is such a beautiful city with ambient conditions for studying and nature enthusiasts cannot be more fitting in Greifswald than other places.
LENC have diverse modules and we get the freedom to choose amongst them based on our field of expertise.
I being a wildlife enthusiast, have more affiliation to animal conservation and I am glad to have learnt a lot into this subject matter from the University of Greifswald.
International Excursion programmes gives more exposure in the field of conservation research internship programmes equipped me to become a better conservation practitioner.
Aside, coming to Germany opened more windows of opportunity for me. I got the privilege to talk about “Conservation Journey in Bhutan” during the annual DAAD meeting at Magdeburg in 2017, which was applauded by a huge crowd. I was a student representative at the “Global Landscape Forum” at Bonn and a youth delegate during the “International Conference for Halting Deforestation” at Rome. Such avenues of experience sharing helped me enhance my knowledge manifolds. Yet, I am glad to have received support from National Geographic Society for completing my Master Thesis on “Landscape Connectivity of Biological Corridors in Bhutan” and now I proudly say I am a NatGeo Explorer. All these happened, because I have come to Greifswald and there is more than a degree to offer from Greifswald. Greifswald shaped me to become a professional conservationists.
March 2018 - Experiencing the real cold of Greifswald
This is my second winter in Germany and from the experience from last year, I was expecting the snow to fall by mid-February. However, we were experiencing an icy cold breeze, much colder than last year, but there was no sign of snowfall; the rivers and ponds were not frozen despite the cold. Rather it was drizzling when January came to an end, it was like spring has come. But I was wrong. The real European winter was not something which I experienced last year, but this year. The temperature plummeted below -5 degree Celsius most of the time and when I woke up in the morning on 27th February, to my pleasant surprise, there was a thick blanket of snow, and still falling. Little did I knew that it would continue for 3 consecutive days, to make the winter in Greifswald the coldest in recent years. One day I checked the temperature and it was negative 12 Degree Celcius during the day, something which I didn't experience even at the snow-clad mountain at the elevation of 4900 masl.
The pond near my hostel is also frozen and this indeed provided me with the chance to experience ice skating, something which I didn't experience last year. It was fun trying to balance on the skating shoe but it was painful to have numerous fall on the hardened ice. A good balancing power and concentrated composure is the key to successful skating, and I am glad I could get into that composure after few trials and errors. However, such an experience might be also my last experience since ice skating is not common in Bhutan, despite having Himalayas full of ice.