Essay Clinic: Sustainable Forest and Nature Management Program(SUFONAMA)


Indonesia Mengglobal Essay Clinic is our effort to provide tangible help for Indonesian applicants who want to study abroad. This essay clinic is not meant to showcase ‘the perfect essay’, but by analyzing other people’s essays (what works, what does not work, what’s good, what’s bad), we hope you can learn how to write an effective application essay and how to continuously improve your own essay. We also accept essay submissions. Click here to learn on how to participate!!

Note on the Essay

This essay will be submitted to Sustainable Forest and Nature Management(SUFONAMA) M.Sc. application, under Erasmus Mundus Programme.

Essay Prompt

Statement of Motivation: Why did you choose the SUFONAMA Course and the chosen mobility track? (max 500 words)
[Editor Note: “mobility track” in this prompt refers to the choice of schools for the 1st year and 2nd year study. The SUFONAMA MSc course must be undertaken at two different schools and there is a list of options available. Refer to the link above to learn more details on the application process]

The Essay

After I read the program study carefully, I found that the courses are suitable with what I am currently working on and my future I want to focus to. As a junior auditor in some of forestry programs; FSC, Indonesia Timber Legality, PEFC and agricultural programs especially RSPO and RFS for palm oil plantations and industries, I have directly seen that deforestation and forest degradation are mainly because of massive agricultural expansion while timber extractions are intensively occured without having related comprehensive policies and lacking of law enforcement. Futhermore, forest still is seen merely as a timber poducer while generally forest-nature has shifted from contemporary forest-timber extraction to forest-ecosystem services. It is driven by globally climate change issue that forest has to be conserved with the mission to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management. People through governments have to utilize forest not only for its timber but forest as its ecosystem. This especially drives me to study an environmental science course in hopes to making a difference for the environment and has deeply captivated my interest in studying a sustainable forest and nature course at further university level.

Since I was in the college I am extremetly motivated and interested in forestry study especially forest valuation. My major was forest conservation. What I studied mostly was about forest ecosystem. From that time, I realized that I need to study about forest valuation and forestry studies related to assess forest ecosystem services because forest is not just only about timber extraction. Forest has various benefits whether they are tangible or even intangible such as tourism, watershed, carbon sequestration and huge value on conserving biodiversity. The idea of valuing non timber forest products are always giving me thoughts that conserving forest without losing its benefits is conserving forest in a best way to reach a sustainable development. At that time,I am already ensured to continue my study for sharphening and enriching my formal education in that field of study.

Subjects like forest and environment valuation, forest economics, economics analysis of forestry development are not mandatory for all majors. Those subjects are supplementary subjects. Not all students are willingly to take the subjects as their supplementary subjects. I took all those subjects. I have forecasted that in the coming decades, forest would not be seen only as extracting timber as the world is aiming for green economy concept. For instance, the demand of forest certification as one of payments of ecosystem services is growing significantly in the recent years. A lot of forestry certification standards of forestry products are indicating that the world wants a sustainable development containing three aspects which are economic, environment and social. How people see forest benefits and what tools which are valid and reliable to assess its benefits.

In line with my future aspirations and preferred working areas, the courses are weapons for myself to be more intensively working in building whole forest ecosystem services as valuable products as well. How to create implicable standards for the beneficiaries of non timber forest products (ecosystem value) which are still diifficult to assess and value including profits and sustainability. I also believe that this route will help my ambition of discovering a potentially revolutionary sustainable forest management for global use for an environmental based sustainable future. Preferably, in the following years, I will be working in forest research bodies, forest standard bodies, non-governmental organisations or non-profit development organisations for creating some payment standards and schemes of incentives for ecosystem.

Without any doubts, I consider to choose University of Copenhagen for the first year and University of Padova for the second year which emphasize deeper in forest valuation tools and techniques. I believe that this course will significantly affect my future prospect of working to improve and transform our environment for the better.

Review from Tsani Fauziah, a Master student of Environmental Management and Development at Australian National University.

I reckon that you have some strong arguments for choosing this study program. However, your paper should be rearranged in a way that is convenient for the reader. I propose that you could start with general argument on why are you choosing the program and comes down to why you particularly choose that program in that university. You can reconstruct your paper by following this structure:

  • Brief introduction (2 sentences max):  your previous degree and current work.
  • What are you currently working on?
  • What are the issues you found related to your work (which later will also relate to your study program)?
  • What is your detailed career plan in the future?
  • Why are you choosing that particular university?
  • Why are you suitable for the program?

I know that this will be a lot of work but you have all the materials on your paper.

Other comments:

  • You also should be more objective on stating why are you interested in studying that particular program.
  • You have too many arguments emphasizing that forest is important. Maybe you can just pick one topic (say forest valuation) and develop your argument around that.
  • Mind the word limit.

Review from Andrego Halim

  • Based on the prompt, the max words is 500 words and you’re currently at 636 words. Although the difference may not sound that much, the fact that your word count went over shows that you don’t pay attention to details.
  • There’s a lot of misspelled words that can be caught easily. Usually Microsoft Words has autocorrect functionality or you can use free online resources to help you.
  • You didn’t give complete answer to the prompt. Read the prompt correctly: “Why did you choose the SUFONAMA Course and the above mobility track“. The prompt consists of two sections but you spent most of your time only answering the first one. You didn’t provide enough details on why or how these two mobility tracks “emphasize deeper in forest valuation tools and techniques”
  • Give concrete examples and be straightforward rather than stating subjective opinions. Give real examples surrounding you and your current career and past experience as you clarify your arguments.


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