Meet JoJo, an Environmental Management student from China
Published 28 Feb, 2023 · 5-minute
JoJo is an international student from China, determined to enact change in the way humans interact with the natural world.
Currently undertaking a Master of Environmental Management at UQ, she has always envisioned a future working in the environmental space. So, after completing her undergraduate degree in environmental engineering in China, it was only natural that she applied to study at UQ.
UQ’s excellent reputation in this field made it a favoured institution for JoJo to transform her passion for helping the planet into a career.
Life in Brisbane
JoJo first got a taste of life in Brisbane when she was in her first year of high school. On a school trip, she was lucky enough to visit the city before staying with a host family in Noosa for a month, with whom she still maintains a close connection.
“It was then that Brisbane left a beautiful impression, the people were very welcoming and patient. So, when I applied to study at UQ and received an offer, I accepted it right away.”
JoJo now resides at South Bank, close to South Bank Parklands, where she often enjoys evening walks and relishing in the relaxing pace of the city.
“I love walking around the South Bank, watching the birds and seeing the bluebells blooming … these little things fill my life and make me feel so happy.”
Exploring the campus
When JoJo first stepped foot onto UQ’s campus, she was impressed with the environment and infrastructure. The beauty of the St Lucia campus - enhanced by the always-sunny weather - has never failed to lift her mood and she looks forward to starting each day walking across the expansive lawns surrounded by blossoming jacarandas and heritage buildings.
When she needs to focus on her studies, JoJo will find a nook in the Central Library, located in the Duhig North Building. The third floor of the library is dedicated to quiet study, and she finds she can work the most efficiently here.
JoJo also praises the relationship between campus staff and students, particularly during exam periods, in which staff hand out drinks and healthy snacks to support students’ studies. This encompassing support has fostered a strong sense of belonging for JoJo.
“I have made many friends and received a lot of help from students on the various platforms at UQ, and they have gone out of their way to help me and encourage me when I am struggling academically,” she shares.
The Master of Environmental Management aims to develop students’ analytical and strategic skills so they can tackle today's most vital and challenging global issues. Moreover, students can tailor their studies to fit their career aspirations.
“Students are given a diverse range of courses and are able to choose the one that suits their personal interests,” shares JoJo. “We are given full support and the opportunity to explore the field.”
UQ’s assortment of environmental courses relate to areas such as conservation biology, regulatory frameworks, natural resource management, environmental impact assessment or coastal processes and management. UQ environmental students can also gain a professional edge by taking part in international study opportunities, research projects and industry placements.
To JoJo, a single highlight of the course is hard to pin down, but she particularly values the deepened understanding she gained of current and future environmental issues and trends and, in turn, methods to mitigate them. UQ’s approach to learning has allowed her to gain practical experience while enhancing her report writing and project management skills.
The balance of interactive field, lab, and research-based learning is another factor that cements UQ’s high ranking in environmental studies. The interdisciplinary approach to learning introduces students to careers they may not have considered, such as policy development, meteorology, and natural resources management, just to name a few.
Being taught by decision-makers in leading environmental institutions - some of whom work with the Royal Society of London, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the World Health Organisation - has been another pinnacle of her studies at UQ. She commends her teachers for accommodating the barriers international students may encounter.
“The teachers were very friendly and as a Chinese student, when I asked questions, they would slow down and try to make the lessons understandable in simple language,” she says.
“My program also provided us with a range of activities, such as field trips and visits to exhibition halls,” she continues.
These field trips include access to unique biodiversity hotspots and fascinating ecosystems, from coral reefs to World Heritage-listed rainforests.
The world-class education provided at UQ means JoJo will graduate with skills and knowledge that apply to a range of careers in the environmental sector. When she graduates in June 2023, she hopes to use her learnings to pursue a career in environmental consulting, which works to reduce the environmental impact of industrial, commercial, and governmental practices.
There is no shortage of environmental jobs in Queensland thanks to its rich biodiversity. The Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science offers internships to students in relevant fields of study, meaning JoJo can start to gain workplace experience quickly and easily.
Advice to international students
JoJo’s advice to current and future international students at UQ is both valuable and practical.
“Maintain a progressive and humble mindset during your studies,” she shares. “Try to open yourself up and don't be afraid to communicate, everyone is very patient. The university supports the diversity of its students with a variety of interest groups and development platforms. I hope to make the most of these resources.”
Interested in exploring JoJo’s career pathway? Explore the University of Queensland's program offerings in Environmental Sciences.