Name: Lana Garrels
Master's programme: Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation
All Master's programmes
Why did you decide to come to Lund?
The main reason was the programme itself. There is nothing comparable out there that looks at the combination of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. I like that it has that mix of social sciences and practical disaster risk reduction – it’s not focused purely on the social science aspect. I did my Bachelor’s in international business and management, but realised that I wanted a change of direction and to do something more meaningful. When I found this Master’s programme, I was really happy to discover that it was open to applicants from outside the engineering and social science field. They saw how my background in business could bring a different and valuable perspective to the group.
What attracted you most to the programme?
What really struck me were the recommendations from international organisations and NGO’s, saying that the programme is highly relevant and that there is a need for people with these qualifications. That was great confirmation that the programme would prepare me well for what I want to do in the future.
Has the programme lived up to your expectations so far?
Yes – it has exceeded them! I certainly didn’t expect it to provide such comprehensive preparation for the field. And it’s great that we are such a diverse group of students, both in terms of backgrounds and nationalities. We have all gotten to know each other really well. That’s great for when we do group work, but also as a start towards building a professional network.
How would you describe the learning environment?
We have courses at several different departments, which means we get a good mix of practical and theory work. The engineering courses are all very practical, and most include some sort of project or group assignment, so you always get the chance to apply what you’ve learned. The sustainability courses are a bit more focused on theory. We also have a lot of guest lecturers who come to talk to us about their experiences. We had one lecturer from OCHA (the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the UN) who spoke very openly about the difficulties of coping emotionally with disaster response in the field. He told us that there are plenty of other ways of helping people, even if you can’t handle doing first-line response. That was very reassuring to hear.
Do you have any advice for people thinking of coming here to study?
Talk to students who are already here, or get in touch with the programme ambassadors. I’ve always done that and you get really good advice. Don’t worry about the language, you get along great with English. And look for housing as early as possible!