Coming out of the Pandemic by Interning at IUFRO

By Agustín Rosello

IUFRO Headquarters is a family I will never forget. I still remember when I found out that I had been accepted as a trainee at IUFRO Headquarters in Vienna. I was working in my home office in a remote town in the middle of a country far south in Latin America, organizing the 50th anniversary of the International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS), when I read that e-mail and realized my life was about to change. I started shouting and jumping for joy because finally this corona nightmare was over, and I was going to achieve my dream of working at an international organization in Europe. Austria was my destination and IUFRO my challenge.

I was just about to finish my degree on Forestry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. During this time I was able to focus my development on forest conservation and landscape restoration, but sadly I knew that back home forestry doesn’t go much broader than paper or wood industry. In this context joining a team as IUFRO Headquarters was an opportunity completely out of the ordinary and that I would never let go unnoticed. After having the complete support of my family, I departed on my journey with honor and pride.

I was committed to develop myself professionally and acquire different skills required to organize a community as big as IUFRO, understanding group dynamics, identifying problems and being able to find solutions, negotiating and reaching agreements, working on megadiverse environments such as the forests in Patagonia that I love so much. Proudly now I can say IUFRO Headquarters taught me this and much more things I never imagined I was going to be experiencing in such a short time. 

During this two-month traineeship I ran into some big challenges and frustrations, but gladly the team beside me helped me to overcome them and become a better forester. At the same time this opportunity provided me with great conversations with really inspirational colleagues that regardless of their position always made me feel like a peer and shared with me their experiences and guidance.

At the age of 25, a forestry career at one of the best universities of my country, two great years working with the biggest forestry student organization in the world, and an incredibly fruitful two months at IUFRO Headquarters, I’ve got nothing more than to be grateful for the amazing set of skills IUFRO has added to my toolbox. This I will take with me wherever my professional path takes me. And the most important thing of all, I felt part of the family IUFRO is.