Read below the stories of our former students Annelies and Jeffrey, who share their experiences with the programme.
Annelies van Donkelaar, former student
"I could specialize in what I do best and what really mattered to me"
This Master’s gave me a lot of freedom: I could specialize in what I do best and what really mattered to me. Another good thing about this Master’s are the many great courses. I was actually struggling to stay within the 120 credits!
During the programme, there are two major internships/researches that you get to carry out. One of them takes nine months, which seemed a really long time when I started, but time really flew by. In this internship I studied hornbill breeding behaviour. Some species of these tropical birds are threatened with extinction, but zoos are struggling to breed them. It was great to dedicate nine months of my life to this cause.
Jeffrey Brand, alumnus
"It were the internships that convinced me to enrol in this programme here in Utrecht"
After finishing my Bachelor in Biology, I spent a lot of time looking at and comparing Master's programmes. I had had enough of lectures and was eager to put the things I’d learned into practice. In the end, the internships convinced me to enrol in the Environmental Biology programme at Utrecht University.
For me, as a nature conservationist, the Environmental Biology programme opened many doors. The internships put me in touch with inspiring nature conservationists and organisations in the field, and my network grew exponentially. During my internships, I have learned more than would ever be possible during courses. An internship lets you develop your soft skills, and above all, it allows you to get a grasp on the complexity of nature conservation issues in real life. I have worked with the Amazon Conservation Team in Suriname, inventorying non-timber forest products in the heart of Suriname, and with WWF in Indonesia, sharing lessons learnt on forest and landscape restoration, where I experienced what nature conservation is like in the field. In both cases, I also learnt a lot about myself, which prepared me significantly for my post-university life. For example, I got confronted in the field with my strengths and weaknesses, which now plays to my advantage in my working life.
After graduation, I started as a trainee at Rijkswaterstaat, where I focus on ecological monitoring of the Marker Wadden (Markermeer, Netherlands) and the governance of Dutch river systems. The complexity of a multi-stakeholder playing field in the tropics turns out to be not so different from the Dutch river systems. Being at work definitely proved to me how much I have learned during my studies!