July 30, 2018

Environmental Technology & International Affairs: what do the graduates have to say?

Julia Kraft (Austria) and Ansgar Fellendorf (Germany) have recently graduated from our Master’s program Environmental Technology & International Affairs. We were at their graduation ceremony in early July at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and used the opportunity to talk to them about their background, their goals and their experiences on the program.

What is your background and why did you choose this program?

Julia Kraft: I graduated from Political Science. I wanted to learn more about environmental technology, a topic that has become ever more relevant and the TU Vienna is the perfect place to study it. The interdisciplinarity of this program and the great reputation of the DA were decisive for me.

Ansgar Fellendorf: Because the interdisciplinary approach is unique, because Vienna is a beautiful city, because the DA, with its tradition and prestigious lecturers, enjoys a very good reputation and finally because the TU Vienna opens up new perspectives for someone like me, without a background in natural sciences.

What was your personal highlight?

Julia Kraft: I was particularly interested in environmental law, which is part of the curriculum in both institutions. In the DA we had for instance Prof. Gerhard Loibl and at the TU, Prof. Markus Amann, an expert in the topic of environmental conventions. I could mention many other brilliant lecturers we had. For people with a Law or Political Science background, this program is a great complement since it allows you to acquire basic technical knowledge. I also enjoyed the fact that we were stimulated to work on interdisciplinary and extracurricular activities. For instance: we organized meetings such as ETIA Talks, to discuss important topics.

Ansgar Fellendorf: There are three special things about this program. First: the participants and the professors are highly motivated. Second: the cooperation between the DA and the TU is really unique. I could not find a cooperation between a technical university and a school with humanities programs anywhere else. Third: the various extracurricular activities that were offered. We had for instance the opportunity to visit conferences at the UN, go on study trips to Ukraine or travel to Kyrgyzstan or Brussels.

Which topics interested you the most?

Julia Kraft: Space law, which was also the topic of my master’s thesis. This is probably not the first thing one thinks about when one hears about the program! And yet, space law has been gaining relevance, whether it is for the surveillance of certain processes on earth or for military affairs. It is necessary to consider environmental aspects from the very outset.

Ansgar Fellendorf: In the first year, at the DA, it was international environmental law. We had a very good lecturer on this topic, Prof. Gerhard Loibl, who taught us a lot about various international environmental treaties. In the second year, at the TU Vienna, I discovered my passion for chemistry, which I didn’t know I had before.

For my master’s thesis I wrote about voluntary CO2 emission compensation programs, those certificates some companies offer. For instance, many bus companies offer clients the possibility to buy a certificate in addition to the bus ticket itself. In my thesis I examined to what extent these certificates can be a valuable instrument for climate protection in developing countries. To do that, one also has to consider legal, economic and technical aspects.

What are your plans for the future?

Julia Kraft: I want to keep working with politics. In August I’ll start a job as Manager for Environmental Policy at Austrian Airlines. I hope to be able to put to use the interdisciplinarity I was taught here. All employers I met personally at job interviews were very excited about the program. When it comes to the professional future, ETIA is a very good program!

Ansgar Fellendorf: We’ll see… First of all, enjoying the summer (laughs).

Pictures of the graduation ceremony are available at the photo gallery and in our video.


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