My experience as an IFSA Trainee at IUFRO

My name is Mirjana Volarev, and I am from Serbia. I am an environmentalist and a forester with a passion for climate policy. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Serbia at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade, and my Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University in Vienna, Austria. 

In September and October 2021, I had the fantastic opportunity to work at the Headquarters of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) in Vienna. My main work was related to the IUFRO World Day, a 24-hour digital event held on 28 and 29 September. In the course of finishing promotion-related tasks aimed at enhancing the visibility of IUFRO, I have learned a lot about how such a big project develops on an international level. Throughout my internship, I was tasked with diverse activities such as writing a report on a REDD+ session held on IUFRO World Day, doing research to create a fact sheet for a media briefing on climate change and deforestation, writing blogs, producing communication material, drafting posts for social media, and having various meetings with my IUFRO colleagues.

This internship offered me an exciting and insightful experience and allowed me to enhance my professional skills in project development, communication, and research. Furthermore, I had the chance to see how this large international forest research organization works and become a part of it. As a result, I feel excited and confident about finding my first full-time job in the forest sector, ideally shaping forest policy and contributing to climate change mitigation.  Last but not least, the welcoming atmosphere at IUFRO HQ was a big part of developing my skills and showed me the importance of working together in a team. Balancing work and fun helped me to feel productive and learn about forests, science, and people. I felt lucky to be part of this community, supporting IUFRO’s meaningful work that promotes science and contributes to healthy, resilient forests, and to have this opportunity to develop my skills and grow professionally.