By Carolina da Silva Paes – MSc in Sustainable and Innovative Natural Resources Management
After finishing my Bachelor in Geology at São Paulo University in Brazil, I’ve worked for a few years in environmental consultancy, traveling around the country in order to evaluate and monitor soil and groundwater contamination. However, the desire to keep exploring always remained alive inside me, so I’ve decided to put my effort into applying for an international master’s degree, even though it would mean having to leave behind a promising career in my country, my family and my friends.
I followed through with my decision and I was awarded the Erasmus Mundus scholarship for attending the International Master of Science in Sustainable and Innovative Natural Resource Management (SINReM) in Ghent, Belgium, Uppsala, Sweden and Freiberg, Germany.
All the indecisiveness and fear that I had about quitting a job in my country and taking the chance outside of my comfort zone ended as soon as I started my first master's class. At that moment I could see that the world had much bigger things in store for me. This opportunity meant a lot to me in many aspects of my life. Being able to be a part of an environment full of international students with different backgrounds, stories and ambitions made this a very enriching and valuable experience for me.
I believe that knowledge only makes sense when it is shared and when it is applied to reduce socioeconomic and environmental inequalities. This master’s degree has shown me incredible paths that I can follow, and it has made the connection between incredible people and institutions possible.
Currently, I am in the second year of my master's studies with a major focus on circular societies. My thesis will be presented at Ghent University and will be dedicated to the recovery of metals from waste in order to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Parallel to this, I have dedicated myself to learning other languages, doing internships related to my field of study, and I have done my best to spread the news about Erasmus Mundus so that more people become aware of this opportunity. Being a member of the Research and Innovation Unit in the Erasmus Mundus Association brings me joy because I know that I’m connected with people who want to help and contribute to the association and its members.
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