Testimonials - MSc in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management – University of Copenhagen

Student testimonial

PLEASE NOTE: Application for this programme is closed in 2017.

Humans exploit natural resources on a continuous basis. That makes it vital that there are people equipped with the knowledge to appropriately manage the use of resources in a sustainable way. That is what drives Barry McGonigal (BSc in Geography) and made him apply for the SUFONAMA programme. He believes the programme enables students to become leaders in a field which is high on the agenda of governments and alliances around the world.

Humans rely on forests and nature for food, energy and recreation. That is why it is essential that natural resources are managed in ways that ensures that coming generations can live from them and enjoy them at the same time. Barry’s interest in this field stems from an academic and professional background in human geography and tourism. An untraditional, yet not at all unrelated background for studying SUFONAMA, Barry explains.

“Well preserved nature can be a trademark that attracts tourists from all over the world. Especially for developing countries, tourists can be an essential source of economic growth, which creates incentives to conserving forests and nature instead of exploiting them”

Case-based and hands-on education is the part of the programme which Barry has found to be most valuable. But, generally, the way studies are structured at University of Copenhagen makes Barry recommend other international students to choose the university as their first year institution.

“The Faculty of Science is part of the University of Copenhagen which has excellent ranking and the Faculty offers top of the line lecturers and high quality education as well as an international, creative and informal study environment in which it is ok to call the teachers by the first name. Group work is another extraordinary and valuable study method which will prepare you to go straight into work upon graduation”

Most likely, Barry will be going to Bangor, Wales, for the second year of the programme to study conservation nature management, but it depends on what happens and he likes to keep his options as open as possible.

In touch with real life

No matter where Barry chooses to go for the second year, his ambition is to make a difference back home in Ireland, e.g. by working for a forest agency, a timber production company or a governmental agency. He believes that the real life approach throughout the entire programme will make him well prepared for his future career. E.g. already within the first couple of months of his studies, Barry has been on four field trips (three in Denmark and one in Germany) and later in his studies he will be going abroad to do field work for his thesis.

International study environment

The global nature of SUFONAMA and the ethnic diversity of students enrolled in the programme is one of the things that Barry has appreciated the most. The international study environment gives theoretical cases a real life touch as people from all over the world can contribute with relevant first hand experience.

The many international students create a great study environment in the course and on campus in general, however, it is a bit harder to integrate with Danish students. But studying at University of Copenhagen for a whole year, Barry feels confident that it will get easier along the way, e.g. if he signs up for one of the many student clubs or associations at the Faculty. Also, the student bar “A-vej” and the Green-house Café are nice places to meet with fellow Danish and international students.

Generally, Barry has found great pleasure in the magnificent campus with state-of-the-art facilities situated in the middle of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. According to Barry, it is impossible not to fall in love with Copenhagen, which has great infrastructure, is located close to the sea and beautiful nature sights and has so many offers that you will never get bored with it.