The effects of climate and environmental change are inescapable. They’re especially evident in developing nations, where the loss of biodiversity, pollution, unsustainable farming practices and development activity, and the volatile state of global affairs, make them much more vulnerable to economic ramifications.

While many problems in developing countries can be attributed to political or infrastructural factors, the negative impact of environmental degradation cannot be ignored. Students like Nathan Mario Perera Mahagamage, from Sri Lanka, understand the importance of sustainability in meaningful, lasting development. Ambitious, environmentally conscious change-makers like him enroll in programs like our Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability to acquire the knowledge and skills to find practical solutions to critical, real-world challenges.

Nathan recently joined us in an illuminating interview, and he shares what being at IE University means for him, his career—and his community.

Why did you choose the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability?

Being raised on a tropical island like Sri Lanka, I was always exposed to environmental concerns such as water scarcity, pollution and non-renewable energy. However, it wasn’t until the recent Sri Lankan economic crisis that I was really motivated to study the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability.

My nation was in a critical state, with a tremendous lack of energy and agriculture for food production. This was disappointing as Sri Lanka has the capacity to be truly self-reliant and sustainable by using renewable energy. But as a developing nation that’s dependent on importing non-renewable energy and agricultural products, chaos ensued when it wasn’t possible to do so anymore. It was a challenging time to live through, marked by nine-hour power outages and very little food.

Going through that experience inspired me to study the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability. I hope one day to integrate everything I’ve learned to help developing nations such as Sri Lanka transform into sustainable energy powerhouses.

What are your favorite subjects and why?

I’m currently enjoying all of my courses, but if I had to pick one, I’d say my favorite is Principles of Ecology. It’s interesting to learn about the different elements of the environment and how they all interact with each other, like a system.

On the other hand, Instrumental Methods for Environmental Measurement is very hands-on. I admire how it teaches us how to accurately utilize technical tools that can be helpful in the field. 

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities outside of class?

Yes! I’m a singer in the IE Music Club. We organize concerts throughout the year and perform at various gigs both in and outside IE University, so I spend most of my free time rehearsing with our band, The Jukebox, at the IE Creativity Center.

These concerts have given me the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and work on my musical craft. I also enjoy hiking across Segovia and reconnecting with nature. Whenever possible, I read non-fiction and autobiographical books as well.

What do you like most about studying at IE University?

I admire its diversity; it’s probably the most diverse university in the world. My friends hail from nationalities all over the planet and I’ve met students from countries I never thought I’d have any connection to.

IE University also has a lot of activities—A LOT! There are so many choices, whether sports and fitness, cooking or music. I enjoy all the options available to me here.

Can you share some words of advice for future students of the program?

It’s important to ensure that you have a deep interest and passion for sustainability. Building a scientific foundation in high school would help, but it isn’t an absolute requirement. All you need to succeed at IE University and beyond is dedication.

If you want to help save the planet so that humans and animals alike can have a better future, then the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability is for you!

Beyond uncharted limits

For Nathan, joining IE University was a step in the right direction, bringing him closer to accomplishing his goals. What he didn’t expect was to find a vibrant, multicultural community that would allow more than his ambition to thrive. As he builds the toolkit to lead sustainable change, we’re sure he’ll keep discovering—and exceeding—the limits of his personal and professional potential.