Studying Geography at Swansea University was an incredible experience, which I would happily repeat. The department is such a friendly and supportive place which helped me explore my interests in hands-on ways. These included lab-work, such as simulating rain on a slope, and field trips. It was during these that I made some of my best friends during my degree. The department and student-led Society (The GeoSoc) foster a great sense of community. I especially enjoyed the provision to study part of my degree through the medium of Welsh. It was useful in the transition to higher education to continue in Welsh with excellent and friendly lecturers and students.
The location of Swansea was also a major attraction for me. The beach is incredibly close to the campus and a great place to spend a relaxing day. It’s one of the things that I miss the most. The city itself is a comfortable size and I could get most of the things I needed from the shops. The societies available at the University gave me the chance to try out many new activates like Kayaking and joining a Choir.
It’s often said that field courses are the best part of a Geography degree. I definitely agree with that as Swansea provide many field trip opportunities over my three years. I got to explore the geology of the beautiful Gower and Pembroke Coast in my first year. As part of the degree, all second-year student go on a field trip abroad, I visited Vancouver. This was an incredible experience to learn about processes that were in front of us with informative lectures. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling around parts of British Colombia seeing landscapes at a completely different scale to the UK. During the trip, we got to enjoy some downtime as well such as watching a hockey game and having snowball fights. This was defiantly a highlight of my three years at Swansea.
Another great field trip opportunity I had was to be part of an interdisciplinary trip to Sikkim, India. Sikkim is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and it such a fascinating place. The trip was made up of Biologist, Zoologists and Geographers, so was amazing at widening my perspective on many different issues. It was incredible to see such a diverse environment and culture. The food there was amazing too! During the field course, I had the chance to fully engage with the area of disaster management and investigate it in such a unique setting. Without a doubt, the trip helped me decide on my future studies and career.
Following on from my time at Swansea, I completed a Masters in International Disaster Management at Manchester University. Throughout the course, I was able to build on the skills I gained at Swansea, like Geographic Information Systems Mapping and critical thinking. After returning to Wales, I got a job as a Research Officer at the Welsh Government. The role involves using research skills to commission and contract manage evaluations and research pieces of different schemes and projects funded by the Welsh Government and the EU. My main focus is the Rural Development Programme which supports rural areas in different ways from helping farmers to get better equipment to boosting Wales' tourism. I will soon be also providing advice to some projects in Wales that are funded by the European Social Fund on their data collection for monitoring purposes and manage their own evaluations.