Alumni Profiles

Alumni - Lena R.
SSE Alumni (2018) - Lena R., Germany

Current Employment: Project coordinator for climate protection (St. Elisabeth Verein e.V. Marburg)

I chose CAU because I wanted to do a master program taught in English and in the field of sustainable development, but located in Germany. It was important for me to study in an international atmosphere with students from all over the world. Furthermore, I wanted a good balance between theoretical input and practical experiences. Especially the practical part is lacking at many universities. Not so in Kiel – through the yooweedoo competition and my two change projects I learned a lot for my professional life. The freedom of choice for courses and projects was great. First, I built a community oven located at Alte Mu and later on I did an Artivism project. Throughout my studies I worked at the university as “Hiwi” in the field of social entrepreneurship and did a 6 month internship in Stockholm. My internship position was the project assistance for an Accelerator program for founders of social enterprises from the Global South.

For me the beauty of the master program was the lovely people, who all cared about environmental and social issues. Together with fellow students I joined the Ende Gelände movement in 2016 and we also went on a trip together to Budapest for the Degrowth Conference.

After graduating from CAU I did not directly enter the job market. Instead I participated in a three week seminar in Tanzania. This seminar was part of an 18-month training called “Empowerment for Climate Leadership” organized by Germanwatch and CAN Tanzania. Three more month of travelling through Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya were the perfect break between studies and job. After I came back to Germany, I was very lucky and found a job immediately. Now I am the project coordinator for a climate protection project in a small town close to Marburg. The aim of the project is to motivate citizens to behave more climate friendly in the areas of consumption, mobility and nutrition. The project is financed to 80% by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and runs for four years. My main tasks are to mobilise citizens for implementing their own projects, to network, to organize events and to do the communication (social media, press releases).

My advice to current students is to choose a focus in their studies. Our study program is quite broad, which is not bad at all, but might make you feel a bit lost in the wide field of “sustainable development”. For me it was helpful that I put an emphasis on “climate protection” and selected all classes at CAU which were related to climate topics (e.g. climate ethics, climate change, climate politics). My second advice is to gain practical experiences. Either through change projects as part of your studies or through work, volunteering or an internship.