From love to nature and technology
Gerbrand Grobler, South Africa
Gerbrand Grobler is from South Africa. His javelin history led him to Tampere to study Environmental Engineering.
You are from South Africa. Why did you choose to study in Finland and at TAMK?
My javelin history led me to my wife, who is also an athlete from Finland. We got married in 2008 and then we moved to Finland. I couldn't get a job in my profession and had to look for alternatives. A fellow South African introduced me to TAMK and the rest is history. I have been doing javelin for more than 15 years. I have been competing at the international level and in Finland (with all the Finnish guys). My best position on the IAAF world ranking is 36 with 80.32 m in 2002, when I was 20 years old. I was also coached by Esa Utriainen before he went to England to be the head coach of the javelin group. I am still doing javelin and hopefully it will go well next year as an injury has prevented me from throwing.
Why did you choose to study Environmental Engineering?
I chose Environmental Engineering because I have always had a love for nature and technology. I have to say that excursions have been the best learning environment for me. I also like the lab work a lot as it is more hands on. I have learnt a lot. But I think I will be jack of all trades and master of none. I like the informal setting. The international groups that have studied with me are interesting, and I have made great friends and contacts.
What is the theme of your final thesis?
My thesis topic is "Algae cultivation for waste water reclamation".
What are your plans for future?
Let’s see what the future holds. Have to keep my eyes and ears open for the best possible opportunities. The best would be to live a simpler life. The aim would be to finish my studies and find a job or even start my own company.
What do you think about Tampere and Finland?
The nice thing about Tampere is that it’s small enough to see your friends every day, but big enough not to see them every day. As I am also a fisherman, the lake provides great fishing spots and the nature in the Tampere area is great for an outing. My in-laws are living close to Tampere so going to the farm is always pleasant.
What are your hobbies?
I have many hobbies. I for example go fishing and hunting regularly.