CBU FOR students and alumni


Tanke Aba Samson, Cameroon

With the recent challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, I feel that CBU is the right place for me to be as the studies in this programme give students an opportunity to learn ways to solve these challenges. I learned about the Cross Border University Master's Programme on Forestry through the internet. It was the curriculum of the programme that inspired me to apply to it.

For someone like me with a background in environmental sciences this Master's programme has a lot to offer. I have especially enjoyed the Problem Oriented Course on environmental services with heated debates on REDD and PES. I found also the courses on sustainable forest management and forest protection in Finland and Russia, and on bioenergy market and policies important. All these courses give students clear dimension of the current challenges in forestry sector and environmental issues.

As a way to allow students to develop in-depth practical skills on sustainable forest management, and working in a challenging multicultural society, CBU FOR gives an opportunity to do practical training in international NGOs, forestry companies, and different institutions. The practical training gave me an opportunity to challenge myself in work and to do cooperation with senior researchers in different fields of forest sciences which I regard as an advantage for my future career.

It is thanks to CBU programme that I did my Master's thesis research on socio-economic aspects of rural bioenergy for district heating. CBU courses encourage students to create awareness and learn about the importance of renewable energy, something that is greatly needed in our world today to reduce green house gas emission and mitigate climate change for a better future. I feel that studying in this Master's programme gave me a secure ground for future.

I am proud to be a student at Cross-Border University. I have learned not only about challenges in the global forest sector and environmental issues but also about cultural diversity and values. I can recommend CBU studies for any other people who wish to invest in their capacity building.

Yamuna Baral Gautam, Nepal

I was born and brought up in Pokhara, Nepal. After completing my Bachelor's degree I was interested to develop my professional career in the field of forestry and environment. In year 2008 I received an opportunity to study in CBU Forestry Program at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu. 

I got to know about this MSc program from my friends and started to search more information about it via internet. I found the complete information about the program at the webpage of University of Eastern Finland. When I first learnt about the program run by CBU, I was very excited to study in it as the program was focused in one of my interest fields. I sent my application and later was selected to start my studies in the program in autumn 2008.

My main motive to study in this program was that I have an opportunity to know about environmental issues and forestry development situation both in Finland and Russia. Moreover, the international atmosphere of CBU program and the possibilities for social and cultural exploration in Finland and Russia attracted me to choose this program. 

As I am from a developing country, my future plan is to utilize my knowledge and experience in my home country in the fields of forestry and environment. As Nepal has been suffering from acute shortage of sustainable energy especially for the rural livelihood, my special interest is to work in bioenergy sector. During my studies, I have strengthened my competence and skills in using geospatial information systems in sustainable bioenergy planning. 

My advice to anyone planning to study in this program is "Opportunity comes but it does not wait. You will have a great opportunity to learn about various forestry and global environmental issues. Hurry up to fetch the opportunity!"

Maria Belyaeva, Russia

Hey, I was a CBU FOR student at Petrozavodsk State University, where I studied forestry. CBU programme was very exciting and useful for students. There you can meet many new people, learn new terminology and have a plenty of various tasks that are really interesting. This kind of courses can teach us how to work together in a multicultural group, how to make group decisions and of course how to exchange scientific experience. I think, for me it was rather important to participate in such courses, because it forms a great background for the future. It was a great school of life, where I learned a lot of new different issues. I liked the courses very much and it was a pleasure for me to participate, despite we were all tired and spent practically all our time doing reports and presentations it was finally enjoyable. At the same time it was a great opportunity to improve my English language skills and make new friends. 

CBU helped me a lot to adapt in Joensuu as an exchange student in autumn semester 2010 and now I feel quite comfortable with the level of language and knowledge. It is true to say that these intensive courses really helped me to expand my knowledge in the major subject and gave me an opportunity to improve my English and personal character features.

Nikolai Evstishenkov, Russia

It was one of the best experiences in my life embracing both educational and social atmosphere at UEF. Besides meeting new friends from all around the world, successful completion of my Master's Degree programme gave me a possibility to apply for work in countries like Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Russia. Could have been more (I was just a bit lazy). For now,  I work at the International Forest Certification company and I really like it, thanks to the studies I've completed. I would highly recommend you to apply at UEF and feel it yourself. Don't you believe in me? Just give it a try and you will see!

Mariia Gutman, Russia

I began my studies at the CBU FOR program in a couple of month after graduation from St. Petersburg State Forest Technical University. The cross-border feature of the program gave a very good opportunity to study in both, Finland and Russia, and to see with your own eyes how different forest management is in that two neighbouring countries.

Studies at the CBU FOR gave me a lot. International experience, lectures from Finnish and Russian forestry specialists, field trips and excursions to world-known forestry companies, many good friends from different parts of the world… During my studies I got very valuable internship experience at the Finnish Forest Research Institute METLA, where I got the chance to see the work of this organization from inside and to make new contacts.

At the moment I’m working as Sales Assistant in Luxhammar OY in Mikkeli. The company is supplying equipment (kilns) for thermal modification of wood. Thermal modification or heat treatment is natural method to protect wood from decay and insects; it provides wood with durability and dimensional stability.  My task is to communicate with new customers, to supply information about heat treatment kilns, to advice if needed, to prepare and to send quotations. Forestry background helped me a lot to understand better the process of thermal modification of wood and helps every day to explain it to new customers.

If you love nature and would like to expand your life horizons, be active - take your chance and apply for CBU FOR programme!

Anton Grigoryev, Russia

Hello, my name is Anton Grigoriev. I was studying in CBU Forestry and Environmental Engineering Programme. I am already Master Degree student in Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy. I completed my Master thesis regarding development of bioenergy in Tver region. Even though I am already accepted as a post-graduate student in Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy I would like to defend my Master Thesis in English language in Finland in coming year. Past CBU organized courses have inspired me to continue studies both in Finland and Russia. I am glad to get a chance to join this programme, it provides opportunities to study in international environment, to improve my English language skills and learn more about different cultures and meet new people. I would use CBU gained experience as an advantage in my future professional career.

Kristina Grigoryeva, Russia

My name is Kristina Grigoryeva. I am from Russia. I was a student of CBU Forestry and Environmental Engineering Program at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu. My home university was St. Petersburg State Forest-Technical Academy. It means that I have mainly distant studies in Joensuu and besides that I have several obligatory courses and applied period to have in Finland.

CBU is my first experience of studies abroad. I have very good impression from the study programme and the first course I attended last summer was in Mekrijarvi research station was intensive and fruitful. The atmosphere there was very friendly. CBU courses include many different approaches in education in preparation of the tasks, group work assignments, besides the courses help to develop analysing and communication skills. Studies abroad are a great experience. You meet new people, learn different cultures and get to know different lifestyles.

Personally, I am curious about the current trends in forestry and comparison of forestry related issues on different levels. I am interested in increased cooperation between Finland and Russia, especially on forestry matters. CBU is an opportunity to improve your professional skills and expand your knowledge about the world and the people who live there.

Aliaksandr Holubeu, Belarus

I did my Bachelor's degree at St. Petersburg State Forest-Technical Academy in Russia. After having finished my Bachelor's, I learned about CBU FOR from the assisting CBU FOR coordinator.

I have fully enjoyed the CBU FOR program. During my two years of studies I learnt a lot both about European culture and forestry. In the field of forest sciences, I am particularly interested in GIS technology and forestry management.

I believe that participation in this program will give me opportunities to find a good job in future.

Antti Hiltunen, Finland

Nowadays employers appreciate and require also international experience from their employees. To have different kind of qualification is a great way to separate from the other applicants, when you are going to move to the work life. That was the main force why I applied to this program.

CBU FOR has offered me a lot. The knowledge and skills which I have received during my CBU FOR studies, especially from Russian forestry, have helped me a lot in a couple of projects during my studies. Of course you need to have basic forestry skills, but this program can give you more and something extra like experience and knowledge about the cross-border co-operative-area. I have also met great persons during this program.

Anton Kuzmin, Russia

I had so many highlights for the last few years in Finland so I don't know where to begin.

I came to Joensuu in January 2009 as an exchange student after my graduation from Petrozavodsk State University and getting master degree in "Technology of timber industry production". On that moment from the opportunity to study abroad I was expecting to test myself in new environment, obtain new knowledge and meet peoples with the different background and culture. And you know what? The reality fully exceeded my expectations!

I have gained valuable insight into the Forestry and Environmental Engineering over the past two years! I've met amazing people from all over the world, had exciting conversations with the leading forest scientists and was involved into magnificent courses in other European countries.  

The CBU has definitely increased my interest in pursuing a career in Forest Sector and offered me terrific career advice.

Right now I am doing my Doctoral studies and I'm looking forward to this new challenge and to starting a new phase of my career.

Julia Maximova, Russia

My name is Julia, I am 26 years old and currently working in a forest consulting company Indufor. My main responsibilities are related to assisting projects which Indufor carries out in Russia and CIS countries, and this includes communication with customers, analysis of statistical data, marketing, translations and field work. I must admit that my current job would not have been possible if I had not got my Master's degree from the CBU FOR program. Two years of studies in CBU FOR have given me expertise in forest sciences, improved my English language skills and even helped me to gain some job experience (as an internship forms a crucial part of the program). But most importantly it has given me a chance to network with peers and make some really good friends. The great thing about the program is the possibility of choosing a curriculum according to your own interest and a wide range of opportunities the program gives after graduation.

Do not be scared of moving abroad, deciding to study in English or of anything else – we have all been there, but we have given it a try and would never regret coming to Joensuu and taking the CBU FOR program- the kind of experience you would not get elsewhere and would definitely not forget!

Isabel Muñoz, Spain

Terve, I am Isabel Muñoz, a Spanish girl enrolled in the CBU Forestry Programme. You might be asking yourself why a Spanish girl chose to study forestry here in Finland. I just completed my degree as a Forestry Engineer at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. I just wanted to continue learning and developing my skills. CBU FOR gave me the opportunity on the one hand to know more about forestry and specially forest policy which is really interesting to me and on the other hand about myself,  my limits and my future prospection.

Moreover, the people I have met are really interesting, nice and we were learning lot of things together. And about the weather, well if Spaniards can handle temperatures of 45 degrees without burning… we can manage also below 30.

This is not a path of roses, but in this live we will face off many challenges. That is the perfect way of living for me.

Opportunities come once in life, just take them!!

Elena Neshataeva, Russia

Back in St. Petersburg Forest-Technical Academy I have a Bachelor's Degree in silviculure. I got information about CBU study programme from the seminar which was organized in Academy. The whole 1st year of my Master studies I have done in Joensuu campus at School of Forest Sciences. The first year in Joensuu was very exciting for me. I got the change to get to know different cultures, the system of Education in European countries (Finland, Latvia and Lithuania), new contacts and friends from different countries. During autumn semester 2010 I was studying in Petrozavodsk State University. To be honest the education system there is also well-organized and I had a chance to participate in interesting courses.

I think that there are a lot possibilities in CBU Forestry Programme for those students who would like to get educational experience in different countries and meet experts in forestry related fields.

Mar Ramos Sanz, Spain

I would never thought that, starting a master program with 34 years old would be so much funny and encouraging. I met extraordinary people from all over the world, enhance my skills and learnt about new interesting things. I highly recommend this program to everyone who love forests and forestry, want to learn about this incredible ecosystems, the boreal forests, meet new people and the most important thing think outside the box.

Mahesh Thapaliya, Nepal

Hey there, I came to Finland to study M.Sc. in Forestry in 2008.  I wanted to get a good and reputed degree to develop my career, so, I did the background study before coming here in Finland in the internet. I found information about CBU program in the university website. I choose University of Eastern Finland due to its reputation in Forest Sciences and based on the courses that were mentioned in the study guide.

Under our program, there were students tutors to support the new students. That's why I did not have any problem to adjust with the new environment. They peaked me up from the train station, showed me university and other places and also helped me on the practical things.

I am really impressed with the education system in my Finland. One thing is education is free and the other thing is students can take courses apart from their department. I was student from the department of Forestry, but I was also able to take courses from the other departments. Under our program, we had an opportunity to make study plan by our self. I liked it quite much as I guess it encourages students to work independently. But the major strength of our program is highly qualified experienced lecturers and proper environment for a study.

CBU not only focuses on the individual study but also on the group work and I really liked to work in the group. We had a right to choose different courses by our self except compulsory courses.

One of the most important parts of CBU program to me is that it offers internship opportunity to the students. I worked at Mekrijärvi Research Station during summer 2009 and MTT Agrifood Research Station during summer 2010. This opportunity really helped me to get a familiarized with the working conditions in practical life. I got a chance to meet and work with a lot of researcher at that time. The ideas, comments, and suggestion provided by them are invaluable to me.

Sauna was the most interesting thing for me from Finnish culture. I heard about Sauna when I was in Nepal but I did not know that what is it and what to do in Sauna.

Maxim Trishkin, Russia

Being a Master's student in CBU FOR was my second time to study in Joensuu. The first time was during the last year of my studies in 2005 when I was a bilateral exchange student from Petrozavodsk State University to the University of Joensuu (currently the University of Eastern Finland).

Before starting studies in CBU FOR I have graduated as an engineer in silviculture from Petrozavodsk State University and as a Master from Euroforester MSc program in Sweden. After completing my studies in Russia and Sweden, I worked as an environmental analyst to an international forestry company in Finland, and to a forestry consulting company in Russia. I first got information on CBU Forestry Program through my own network. The detailed information on the program I found on the CBU official website. The main motive for starting the studies was a knowledge gap that I had in modern forestry issues. I found studying as a good option as the opportunities for work were also low in the current situation.

I especially enjoyed the good atmosphere in the CBU group. I had different opportunities to develop my skills and abilities for future. I have had for instance a possibility to meet high level experts from different countries during my studies.

What comes to cultural experience, I have been to Finland for quite a while even before starting my studies in CBU FOR so the adaptation process was not a big step for me. My knowledge of Finnish language has proven to be helpful in many ways. I like especially the good and fair working environment in Finland.

My advice for any prospective student: Even though it requires some external and internal capacity and readiness to face the challenges, it's worth trying studies abroad!

Natalie Trofimencoff, Canada

My name is Natalie Trofimencoff and I am Canadian. In my opinion CBU is a program that offers more than education, but valuable international experience. Being able to study in Finland and Russia creates a unique international education unlike any other. You are able to shape your own education picking courses based on either economics or bioenergy (in the forestry programme), where learning isn't just about studying but gaining experience. The applied period is an opportunity unlike any other, where you have the ability to work in a field that you enjoy, such as research a project or work in remote sensing. Not only does the work period allow you to make some extra money, you are able to network and meet interesting academics and professionals as well as simultaneously being able to put relevant work experience on your resume.

CBU is a unique opportunity that allows you to study in countries that are not visited by many. I wanted to be able to travel to countries that had beautiful forests and great innovations. The innovation and advanced research in Finland coupled with the often perplexing infrastructure of Russia make this program a challenge and an exciting adventure. If you are interested in making a difference and self learning, you will really enjoy this program.

Artur Voyto, Russia

I graduated from St.Petersburg Forest Technical Academy with Bachelors Degree, after that I decided to continue my education abroad. My previous home university is a CBU partner in the Programme and it was not difficult to find the information about selection and criteria to the programme. I really enjoyed most of my time at the CBU, being with friends that come from many different countries.  This enabled me to gain more knowledge about the world and their different perspective on the matters.