Name: Amaël Borzée
Website / Twitter Handle / Instagram:
Where do you work? Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Position: Post-doctoral researcher
How did you get there?
Here, currently means Seoul, South Korea, although it has been a long trip. I started being interested in herps as a kid living in Madagascar and followed my family back to France for high school, where I also started my undergrad. From there I moved to Wales, UK, through an Erasmus exchange, and as I did not want to go back to France I joined a Master degree program in Switzerland - where I started working on treefrogs, almost 10 years ago! After some time being uncertain about what to do next, and a bit of work in the rainforest of Ecuador and some work in London, I worked for the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea, from where I found a job as research assistant in Ewha W. University in Seoul. I worked there for a year before starting my PhD in a different university. After graduating, I was hired as post-doc in the same lab in Ewha W. University and it is a pleasure to be back. While I have been working on the behaviour and conservation of the Suweon Treefrog for quite a few years, I am now working on the ecophylogeography and conservation of North East Asian Amphibians.
Was there any particular hardship that you had to overcome to work in your position?
Changing systems always come with a long list of interesting points to overcome, and while I was studying the main problem was to convert my grades, because France, the UK, Switzerland and South Korea definitively don’t use the same system! Getting degrees officially translated was also a bit of troubles, but that is most of it for the difficulties linked to the movements between universities. One of the main hardship to overcome was to adapt to different places and working styles. There are some lab-to-lab differences of course, but these are minor. The cultural differences between countries were the most challenging points. But I managed to take advantage of it, and I don’t think I would have been able to work as much in Europe as I do in Korea without hearing some questions, while it is almost unlikely praise in Korea.
What advice do you give to someone interested in your profession? What advice might you have for someone from an underrepresented group who is interested in entering your field?
Something helpful is to do what you like, wake up in the morning being happy to go work, and enjoy all of it. In this field it also means enjoying being out in the field in warm spring evening when you friends are out enjoying other part of life, or under pouring cold rain when most people are warm indoor. If you like your research, then you will work harder and longer than others, and that may be a requirement to get one of the few jobs available in the field. Another important point is to be open to opportunities, where ever they are, and even if it means changing country.
What’s your favorite herp?
I’m a big fan of Hylid treefrogs in general, and even if they tend to look like each other, I’ve a weakness for the Suweon Treefrog (Dryophytes suweonensis).
Why are you an HL member?
I believe in being part of something larger than myself, that has an influence on the world around, in this case on the conservation of amphibians.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Follow your hobbies, but keep protocols in mind, that will bring you to good research ideas.
Is there a good caption for your attached photograph?
HDF tracking of Korean treefrogs in Paju, Republic in Korea.