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From Taiwan to Jutland’s forests

Internship with consultancy proved a success for UCPH student

Realizing that his bike was stolen, he almost didn’t make it to the University Post interview in Copenhagen.

»Things just seem to get stolen here,« says forestry student Yuan-Jen Cheng from Taiwan, before adding with understatement:

»I now have two bikes and one iPhone stolen my first year here. Luckily I got my iPhone back,« he says.

Tranquil atmosphere

He has just got back from a summer internship with a small consulting company called ConTerra in Viborg, Jutland that does mapping systems and models as well as water and soil analysis.

»During my stay in ConTerra, I was working on a project to estimate nitrate leaching from forests in complex landscapes. This is a project that Per Gundersen, a professor from my department, and ConTerra have collaborated on for years.« he says.

During his internship Yuan-Jen lived in a flat in the countryside. »I really liked the environment, it was very tranquil. The backyard was very much like my own forest. It was a big difference from the big city buzz in Copenhagen, and the change was very pleasant,« he says.

Read comments from forestry department director on Yuan-Jen Cheng’s internship here.

Easy going

Not only the surroundings, but the working environment was tranquil. The small company was relaxed and more casual then what he is used to from his home country.

»Because some of the employees were on summer vacation, there was actually only me and one other person working the first week of my internship. I’m not used to people being able to take summer holiday for several weeks. In Taiwan, it would only be possible with a few days at the time.«

There was no feeling of hierarchy and everything felt very flexible. »I appreciated this, as I could go with my friends and explore Århus for a day, where I hadn’t been before,« he says.

To use for Master’s thesis

Yuan-Jen plans to use his experience at ConTerra when he starts on his Master Thesis this coming spring.

»I think this internship will be of great use for my Master’s thesis, as there is still much work to do on the project I worked on. I was welcomed back if I wanted to, and they seemed very satisfied.«

»I am glad I can use my knowledge to contribute to ConTerra’s work, and provide them with possible new solutions. It is also highly important when it comes to networking, and for my future employment possibilities,« he concludes.

Wants Danish career

Yuan-Jen had a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from Taiwan before he came to Copenhagen.

For his Master’s he wanted to try something different, as he realized that his main interests are in environmental sciences and natural resource management.

He wants to pursue a future career in Denmark. »I’m very interested in getting a job in Denmark when I have finished my studies, and if the opportunity comes, I would also like to do a PhD at some point.«

Thief was confronted

That he got his iPhone back at all, shows a kind of resilience within him, which might get him the PhD he wants in the end:

»I was with a group of friends, when some guys came over. They assumed we were tourists, easy targets, maybe asking for the way. But when I checked my pocket a few minutes later, my iPhone was gone.«

Knowing he had been tricked, Yuan-Jen gambled, picked the nearest street and ran. Then he saw the guy. Yuan-Jen, knowing no Danish, stood in front of him, reaching out his hand: »I stood there silently. The thief, silently, gave me back my phone.«

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