Michel Joswig studies biology with a major in ecology at the University of Bremen. The 23-year-old is finishing his bachelor’s degree, and in the fall will begin his master’s degree, also in ecology, at the University of Bremen. He has good reasons for this, which he reveals to us in this interview.
Michel, what do you like about the University of Bremen?
What I like most is the unity among students. It’s fantastic, especially now that we’re all back on campus and can collaborate on projects. It’s simply the best way to learn. Plus, we students can get truly involved here. For example, I’m active in the StugA, the study program committee – also known as the student council at other universities. It’s where we can make suggestions about the design of the course and in some cases also influence the curriculum. I feel taken seriously in this role. After three years, I can truly say: It’s a great place to study.
How does this make itself felt in your everyday life?
The studies offer a really good mix. Of course, there’s the traditional learning aspect in the library, but there’s also a lot of lab work where we can get hands-on experience. The fact that you can conduct research during your studies is typical for the University of Bremen. In my bachelor thesis, for example, I studied how a particular species of fruit fly interacts with worms. In the lab, I observed how the worms, which are minuscule and feed on bacteria on fermented fruit, suddenly started waving. In fact, you could compare it to the action of people waving down a cab. And that’s what it’s essentially about: organizing transportation to the nearest fresh fruit. The waving motion is used for docking onto passing insects. It’s what I observed under the microscope. It had a wow factor because no one had ever seen it like that before. Now I understand why researchers love their job so much.
Do you want to work in research later?
I don’t know yet. For now, I’ll start my master’s degree and then take it from there. Research is indeed exciting, but I could also imagine doing something in business. After all, my degree affords me a lot of options.
How did you realize ecology was your thing?
As a child, I loved being out in nature – climbing trees and stuff. That’s where I started to ask questions: Why are there different trees? What do insects and beetles do? This interest in nature then intensified over time – from biology as a favorite subject at school to ecology as a specialization at university. I still like to go out and look around. This also works quite well here on campus. For example, we have wildflower meadows here that are deliberately not mowed to promote biodiversity. The university administration, researchers, and students are strongly committed to nature conservation. Sustainability is topic that’s increasingly gaining prominence on campus as a result of this drive. There are so many exciting projects. I like that.
Are you also actively involved in such a project?
Not at the moment. I already have quite a time-consuming hobby. But fortunately, this hobby is easily combined with my studies. Truth be told, both areas actually benefit from each other.
Now you have made us curious …
I am active in several medieval clubs. It’s very multifaceted. In fact, I read a lot about the Middle Ages, especially academic sources. My experience from my studies helps me here, because it means I know how to deal with academic papers, how to treat original sources. My aim is to get as realistic a picture as possible of this exciting era. But reading is not everything, of course. We attend medieval markets and actually fight each other as well. We even have proper character names; I am Thorin von Borch. Thorin is my second name anyway and I come from Bremen-Burgdamm – so this character name was a no-brainer.
Should we then soon expect a medieval battle on the university boulevard?
No, don’t worry. This is a hobby that has nothing to do with the university. It just allows me to research details about the Middle Ages in the library. And that’s where it ends. Studying has taught me to question things critically. And that is something you can always use in life.
Michel Joswig was born in Bremen and is 23 years old. The biology student is part of the University of Bremen’s student marketing campaign #YOUKNOWWHY. Learn more about Michel’s degree course and why studying at the University of Bremen could be the right choice for you: YOUKNOWWHY