Biodiversity and conservation international masters student at University of Leeds

Leigha Little

Why did you choose to come to the University of Leeds to Study?

I have my MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Edinburgh Napier University and wanted to expand my research skills in a top ranking research university. I decided to study in the UK over my home country for both a cultural experience, and to learn more about a global field (conservation) from a different perspective. The way conservation is managed in the UK, the EU and the US are all slightly different, primarily with the loss of large carnivores from the British Isles. The University of Leeds also awarded me with the opportunity to travel further abroad as part of my summer project and on an ecology field course to Kenya, something I would not have been able to do in America!

What did you enjoy about your course?

I equally enjoyed going to Malham Tarn as part of the induction and again for the Practical Conservation with the National Trust field week. The course has allowed me to choose very hands-on modules to broaden my research experience, rather than classical lecture format only.

What was your greatest challenge throughout the course?

I have taken one of the roles as Programme Rep for Biodiversity and Conservation, as well as a part of the School Rep role for the Faculty of Biological Sciences Graduate School; it has been a challenge, but I have learned a lot of networking and leadership skills through the year. I feel a sense of pride and importance in the university, as students can directly talk to me about issues without feeling any direct pressure or anxiety they may feel about talking to a lecturer. As an international student, I understand the great benefit this provides to other students from outside the UK and even EU that may not feel comfortable or sure of how to address issues.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the Univeristy helped you with these goals?

To learn the most I can about the process of PhD applications and funding, I have attended a few informative career sessions. Unlike other countries, funding in the UK is primarily for UK and EU students, which is a shame. My future goals have changed slightly since I began studying at Leeds because of this, but I would like to continue trying to develop my research skills in animal behavioural ecology and conservation.