Ingvild Lauvland Høie – University of Copenhagen

Agriculture > Testimonials > Ingvild Lauvland Høie

A mix of urban life and sustainable agriculture

Ingvild Lauvland Høie from Norway studies in the Master of Science (MSc) Programme in Agriculture specialising in Production and Environment. People often ask her how it is possible to study agriculture in a vibrant city like Copenhagen. Well, in addition to courses on Frederiksberg Campus, the students actually get to dig their fingers in the soil outside the city.

“Last summer we did fieldwork on a farm for two weeks and that gave me the best perspective I can get to agriculture. Otherwise, it is a bit ironic to study agriculture in a big city like Copenhagen,” Ingvild says.

Her specialisation area, Production and Environment, focuses on sustainable agricultural production and minimizing the effects of agriculture on the surrounding environment, especially on water and soil.

“There is a clear link between agronomy and environmental sciences. I think it is important to recognize that you can’t look at agriculture as only plants or animals but from a broader perspective,” she says

Ingvild started in the MSc Programme in Agriculture in 2012, after completing her Bachelor’s studies in Environmental Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. “At that point, I wanted a more agricultural perspective on my studies, and the University of Copenhagen was a clear candidate,” she says.

The Production and Environment specialisation includes theoretical and practical courses on agricultural production linked to environmental sciences and biology. With only a few compulsory courses, the programme gives the students plenty of flexibility to choose their courses. “That might also be a bit of a challenge, as you have to decide which direction you really want to go, and most of the courses are very interesting!” Ingvild says.

As a part of her studies, she did an internship at a pilot-scale catchment area in Northern Jutland in Denmark. “There I looked at some of the results from a national drainage water monitoring programme, and interviewed local farmers asking them about agricultural practices, fertilization and drainage systems,” Ingvild explains.

The material she gathered during the internship is also the foundation of her Master’s thesis on nitrogen losses from drained agricultural areas that she is currently working on. “The fact that I have been out there, doing all those things gives me the personal relationship to the work and brings in the practical perspective to my thesis,” Ingvild says.

“It is also important for me that someone can use my work, in this case for future applications of the monitoring programme,” she adds.

Ingvild will graduate in autumn 2014 and has really enjoyed her studies at University of Copenhagen. “I find that being in such academic, international and vibrant environment where people are so knowledgeable and friendly has been a very good experience,” she says.

In her programme, half of the students are from outside of Denmark and Ingvild has enjoyed making friends from all over the world. “It’s really a mix of cultures, a mix of opinions, which opens your eyes to different social settings and, of course, varying agricultural perspectives,” she says.

After graduating, Ingvild plans on widening that perspective even further, and volunteering in a developing country. “I have thought of doing a PhD, but I need a break before that, to breathe a bit and get some practical experience. I can always come back to Denmark or Norway, but now is a good time to do something else,” she says.