Master of Environmental Science
Besides world cup-standard rugby and majestic vistas, New Zealand's strong value for the environment is a characteristic it shares with my country, Namibia. A clean environment is an increasingly important marketing tool, and both New Zealand and Namibia are at the forefront not only of realising remiums from a clean image but also of striving to protect the ecological value of their environments. For Namibia, where more than half of the population still lives in rural areas, protecting the environment also means protecting rural livelihoods. It is a challenging position for a government, but it is the reality in developing countries.
Growing up in rural Africa I have looked to nature to provide food, clothing and shelter. For me, environmental consciousness is more than an ideology or a call to ethics. It is a natural way of life which merges people, their needs and the ability to help nature replenish itself.
Biological invasion is a prominent threat to the health of the environment. My MSc thesis in Environmental Science in the Bioprotection and Ecology Division (BPEC) has focused on the ecology of flora introduced from southern Africa in order to understand why some species become invasive.
The strength of the BPEC Division and of Lincoln University at large lies in the University's large proportion of international students. This means that the programmes here have a strong global application. In addition, the University's small size enables easy access to supervisors and facilities.
Socially, I have found the Lincoln community internationally aware and friendly. The challenges are a cold climate and a typical western individualistic culture, particularly for a parent coming from the African extended family network and support system. However, this also gives my teenage daughter and I, an opportunity to grow and apply ourselves in diverse world contexts.