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Meet Josie from the USA, a Masters Student in Human Ecology

Josie a masters student

How did you find out about Lund? What attracted you to the programme?

– I searched countless websites trying to find a Master’s programme that spoke to me. Lund University stood out, as it was not only a world-renowned university, but also the programme itself and the interdisciplinary nature of it were in-tune with what I had desired for my continued education. Seeing photos of a charming Lund with cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured houses may have swayed my decision a little bit, as well.

What exactly is Human Ecology? What sort of things do you study?

– In short, human ecology is a field concerned with the relationships humans have with the environments around them, natural and otherwise. In the programme, we’ve been learning how these relationships play out and how such factors as power relations and cultural aspects connect and have an impact on sustainability issues around the world. We’ve learned to be critical of so-called solutions and to be empowered by our skills in search of better options.

What do you think of the programme so far? Does it live up to your expectations?

– Getting to learn and interact with students from different study backgrounds and different countries has been incredible. That, combined with the clear dedication of purpose-driven professors and instructors, has made for an enriching experience.

What has been your favourite course so far in the programme?

–I really enjoyed the Political Ecology, Crisis and Identity course. It was one of the more interactive courses we’ve had. Nearly each week we had lectures, group reading seminars, and presentation-based seminars so we were able to engage with the texts we’d read in a variety of ways. A few of the topics covered in the course were climate denialism, ecocriticism, feminist political ecology, the politics of renewable energy, and green consumerism.

Do you get a lot of practical experience in the programme?

– In the upcoming Fieldwork and GIS course, we’ll be working in groups, together with Human Geography students, and we’ll be travelling up to Kiruna to do fieldwork. It’ll be a way to apply what we learn in the methods course and learn how best to carry out research through hands-on experience. As for other opportunities, the structure of the CPS programme allows students the option of incorporating an internship into their third semester of studies.

What do you think of the teaching style and the way of studying at Lund?

– It was an adjustment to only have one course at a time, compared with what I was used to, which involved taking five courses simultaneously and juggling work for each of them. However, I’ve grown to like the pace, which allows for exploration of subjects or theories we’re interested in delving deeper into. It’s also been great to have multiple lecturers and professors throughout a course, so we can learn from a range of perspectives and ultimately form our own individual perspective.

Is there much opportunity for networking within your department?

–The programme lies within the Department of Human Geography, and so we have a couple of courses with the students in that programme. It’s nice to hear their ideas on issues, since our fields are related but also vary. In addition, the upper batch of CPS students are available for advice on internships or elective courses, which is quite helpful.

How many students are in your programme? Are you all close?

– There are 27 of us, so it’s a nicely sized programme. Having a small group has allowed us to get to know each other and where each of us comes from.

What are you planning to do after your studies at Lund?

– After completing my studies at LU, I plan to continue working with education in some capacity and communicating about environmental issues.

What’s it like to be an international student at Lund?

– I’ve found Lund to be very welcoming. A rather large percentage of international students contribute to the population, so it seems expected to have people from all over the world studying here. It’s exciting to live among and be part of that energy.

What do you think of the city of Lund and the surrounding area?

– Lund is quite charming and easy to get around. I walk everywhere, but most people bike. It’s a good place to spend a day out and about, and it is also easy to depart from when you feel the urge to explore a new place.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities in Lund?

– Being in a space with others who are also curious and critical about humans’ relationship with the environment has been equally challenging and rewarding. If prospective students are interested in having a similar experience and being pushed forward in their pursuits, they should look into studying human ecology.

What have been the highlights of your time in Lund so far?

– I’ve really enjoyed experiencing Lund through its many seasons. I’m used to bitterly cold, snowy winters, so compared with that, the weather is pretty mild albeit grey and rainy. Throughout the holiday season, the streets, buildings, and trees were lit up around town. Not only did it feel like a special time, it also served as a source of cheer during the darker days. I’ve been trying to relish in each season and each moment since Lund is only a temporary home.

Do you have any advice for prospective students coming to Lund?

– Be open to new perspectives, and be willing to challenge your own perspective.