- Course: MSc Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Course
- Year of graduation: 2018
Why did you come to the University of Leeds to study the above course?
I chose the University of Leeds because the course was the most interesting and exciting one I looked at by far. The promise of a trip to Africa was too much of an amazing opportunity to pass up, and the modules sounded exactly like what I was interested in going into. I was also looking for a top university in the north of England, so Leeds fitted just right.
What did you enjoy about your course?
I enjoyed learning a variety of both knowledge-based and practical-based skills that really went above and beyond simply a Masters qualification. These skills have improved my CV tenfold and really helped me to imagine what kind of career I want to go into.
What have been the highlights of the course?
The Africa field trip was by far the highlight of the course – it was an absolutely amazing experience, so much better than I could ever have imagined. It opened up a whole new pool of career prospects which I’d never even considered, and gave me the confidence to know that I can travel and work abroad.
What was your greatest challenge throughout your course?
The greatest challenge that I faced, personally, was keeping my motivation for work. As much as I have enjoyed this course I believe I could have performed better if I had taken a year out of education, having come straight from my undergraduate course, which I started straight after A-levels. From December onwards the course became very full-on with no periods without work, and I think I struggled with that the most while trying to keep myself going through the assignments and still completing them to a high degree of quality.
What is your research project on and what has it involved?
My research project is on the effects non-native lizards in the south of England may be having on invertebrate communities. It will involve travelling to Dorset in June, catching lizards and performing invertebrate surveys in several different habitats.
How do you think doing a research project has benefited/will benefit you in the future?
If I decide to go onto a PhD in the future experience of research-based fieldwork and project planning will be essential and I think this project will challenge me in both those areas. I will also be able to confidently say that I can survey retiles and invertebrates, which can be an important skill to have if planning on working in the UK.
How would you rate the facilities available to you throughout your final year project? How have these enhanced your experience?
Both the employability services and the union services are amazing at the University of Leeds - much better than at my previous university. Also the support from staff and willingness to compromise on things like deadlines has been no end of help when dealing with the amount of work we have had. I would rate the facilities that I used at the university highly, especially the libraries and eateries available (so much choice!).
About the University
Why did you choose the University of Leeds?
The University of Leeds is a highly rated Russell Group university and, in part, this was the reason I chose to come here for my Masters. However, the offer of an amazing course and field trip was also a big part of my decision.
What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming to do the same course?
Staff support is really high for students, so don’t be afraid to ask for help because it will always be freely and happily given. The facilities, like the cafes, union, libraries and labs, are of the highest standards so you can’t go wrong.
What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the University helped you with these goals in any way?
Initially when I graduate I’m hoping to join an non-governmental organisation (NGO) and work in conservation management or possibly ecological consultancy. Further in the future, however, I hope that I may be able to start a PhD. The university has not only helped me to understand how to go about this but also to understand that this is not the right path for me at present. It has also certainly helped me understand what jobs and career types are out there for me, and encouraged me to gain the skills I need to be successful.