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Academic success leads Arcola man on international path

Arcola-born Kyle Gentes has had a rather travelled life over the past few years.
Kyle Gentes from Arcola has, for the past three years, been following a path less travelled. Studying for an undergraduate degree in biology and bio-neurology, Gentes has been at the prestigious Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany.

Arcola-born Kyle Gentes has had a rather travelled life over the past few years.

Finishing out his last few months as a student studying for a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bio-neurology, Gentes' dedication to his field of study has led him to begin seeking an institution for post-graduate studies.

What makes Gentes' story a little more than that of a regular student is his choice of locations to study.

"I've been doing my undergraduate degree at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany," Gentes said. "Now I'm looking for a school to do a post-graduate degree, and I'm hoping to find a school in Japan."

Jacobs University is one of many universities that specialize in international students. With more than two-thirds of the student body coming from countries other than Germany, Gentes found himself in a varied environment.

"There are students from all over the place," Gentes said. "In fact, there are something like 70 countries represented by the student body at the school."

With a prestigious name in post-secondary education, Jacobs University maintains an exacting standard for students to meet just for the entry requirement.

In some of the programs the university offers, only 10 percent of applicants are able to meet the entry requirements.

"The standards at the university are very high," Gentes explains. "The schedules are very demanding as well."

"Since I started my classes, I've been averaging something like nine classes per semester," Gentes said. "Also, because the program is so focused, the number of electives [non-degree related courses] are really low."

With a busy schedule and a heavy workload, Gentes hasn't even had the opportunity to explore the city he is living in as much as he perhaps would have liked.

"Bremen is a beautiful city," Gentes said. "But I haven't had much of an opportunity to explore it. They keep us really busy."

Pursuing studies in Germany was a decision Gentes made following another overseas adventure earlier in his academic career.

"My last year of school, I was an exchange student in Japan," Gentes said. "It really gave me a taste for living in other places, and seeing how other people live."

"When the time came for me to start looking for a school to apply to, I started looking in Germany right away," Gentes said. "I'm really happy I was able to make the requirements and secure the scholarships I needed to attend."

Gentes' field of study, biology, is a passion of his as well.

"I have always been thinking about the question, 'What is the purpose of life?'" Gentes said. "'What is the origin of life?' Biology offered me a way to find out the answers to those questions."

"Realizing that the human body is just a machine that we inhabit was a big leap for me," Gentes said. "But I am still trying to come to terms with that fact, it seems kind of foreign to me still."

Impelling him to further study, the questions which he describes as keeping him awake at night are still high on his priority list.

"I don't want to spend the rest of my life in academia," Gentes said. "At some point I want to go out and be a practical biologist."

"But for the time being, I am going to pursue my masters degree, and see what happens next," Gentes said. "And, if I can get into a school in Japan, so much the better."

A factor of international study is that many countries maintain much higher educational standards, in regards to the maths and sciences, than Canadian institutions.

This fact adds additional weight to Gentes' successes in academia so far, and speaks to his dedication to his field of study.

"I hope one day I can be a biologist out in the field working on one problem or another," Gentes said. "There are a lot of lab technicians in the world, and I'm sure it is a great job, but I want to go further, into field research."

"Having the opportunity to answer some of those questions that keep waking me up at night would be great," Gentes said. "It is something that I feel I have a calling for."

Gentes is due to graduate from Jacobs University this spring.

He credits the support of his family, friends, and community for his continuing success.

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