application for the SUFONAMA program
I am Toyin Onagoruwa from Lagos, Nigeria, and I would like to express my strong interest in the two-year M.Sc Course in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA). I hold a B.Sc degree in Applied Botany (Ethnobotany) from the University of Lagos where I graduated with a Second-Class Upper Honors (CGPA; 4.28/5.00), emerged in the top 5% of my cohorts and won the Shell Petroleum (SPDC) National Merit Scholarship awarded to outstanding undergraduate students across Nigeria.
The roles forest play on humankind should not be underestimated. According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), approximately 2 billion people depend on forests either directly or indirectly to cater to their everyday needs. Forests provide us with the air we breathe, food, shelter, medicine, habitat for wildlife, clothing, jobs, and also plays important ecological functions in balancing the ecosystem. The central roles forest plays in the everyday lives of indigenous people is evident in developing countries, with their day to day activities revolving around agriculture, harvesting of fuelwoods, rearing of domestic animals, cooking and eating of largely plant-based food, construction of homes using timber, etc.
Sadly, most of the world's forests particularly in developing countries are being depleted due to over-exploitation and this has led to the extinction of important plants and animal species, and subsequent loss of biodiversity. On a larger scale, the impacts of ecosystem degradation and unsustainable use of forest resources have given rise to climate change as well as other pressing global issues. In my country Nigeria, the major problems facing forestry and nature management are poor natural resources management policies, illegal logging, large scale agriculture, indiscriminate use of forest resources amongst others.
My interest in environmental studies started developing during my undergraduate study in Ethnobotany where I had the opportunity to participate in various field trips. There I had the privilege to witness the first-hand experience with locals and the unique interactions with their environment. It was in this period I knew the esteemed importance forest holds in their general wellbeing, cultural identification, and livelihoods. Also, my undergraduate study introduced me to ethics, research methodology, evidence-based thinking, thesis writing and how to creatively analyze and evaluate appropriate qualitative and quantitative data. Furthermore, my bachelor thesis in "Ethnobotanical Studies of Medicinal Plants Used By the Hausa/Fulani Communities in Lagos, State, Nigeria" further motivated me to continue my academics in environmental studies. Through the research, I discovered that many vital tree species used by these indigenous people have gone to extinction and many have become endangered due to unsustainable Overharvesting. The choice of the two-year M.Sc Course in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA) is, in fact, not far-fetched. The overall expertise and experience of the universities involved, the specializations tracks as well as the course structure are what prompted me to apply for this program. I am particularly interested in the "Forest and nature management in changing climate" specialization track at Georg-August Universität Göttingen because of the outstanding research team of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology.
Getting accepted into the SUFONAMA program will definitely provide me a better scope of becoming a specialist in nature management. On a personal level, it will provide me all the necessary theoretical, critical and analytical skills needed to deal with the complex issues facing forestry and nature sustainability. Furthermore, it'll provide me the chance to function on the international stage, build my intercultural understanding and be part of an international cohort that tackles pressing environmental issues from a comparative perspective.
If I get accepted into the program, advocacy will constitute an integral part of my work after graduation. I plan to collaborate with NGOs, governmental agencies, policymakers, and international agencies to help develop policies that will ensure a sustainable model geared towards nature management and harnessing of forest resources.
May I suggest that you revise your format to focusmore on your personal story?
If I were to structure your essay, it would perhaps look like this:
1. Interest in environmental studies (4th paragraph)
2. Explaining the in-depth issue concerning it (2nd to 3rd paragraph)
3. Self-introduction (1st paragraph)
4. Remarks (5th to last paragraph)
By doing this, you can firstly open more about your personal and innate interests to the program itself. This will hook the evaluators because they will get to know you as an individual who is truly passionate about the program I would also opt that you showcase more the technical know-hows that you have concerning the issue. However, you should also avoid putting too many unfamiliar or foreign words into the essay because it will not contribute anything to the essay. Remember that the people who evaluate these essays are not necessarily people who may know the technical words concerning the program - what they are most concerned about is whether or not you have sufficient motivation and drive to be a part of the long-term program.
Taking things further, I would also suggest that you talk a little more about the academic institution itself and the curriculum. Be as specific and detailed as you possibly can be because this will show an intense interest and aspiration to be part of the program itself.
Remember that these evaluators are driven by stories (hence the promotion of the usage of anecdotes) and personal advocacy. If you can showcase an in-depth love for both of these, you will pass.
Best of luck.