Sikkim field trip inspires Biosciences student Amy

The Sikkim 14-day field course provides students with the unique experience of working in inter-disciplinary teams to explore the relationship between environment and society. The field course is held in the Himalayan foothills of Sikkim (India) and brings together students of Biology, Human Geography, Physical Geography and Zoology.

Sikkim Amy Cole 1Biosciences student Amy Cole describes her field trip experience:

"The field course in Sikkim was a fantastic opportunity to study in a unique and beautiful environment. As a biologist, it was a brilliant experience to learn about biodiversity in such a varied ecosystem. The field course involved working as part of an inter-disciplinary team, which included biologist, zoologist, human geographers and physical geographers. This allowed me insight into each discipline and really made me think on a broader scale when approaching an issue, such as hydropower, which was my group’s project.

It was interesting to learn about the culture and religions of the region and how earthquakes and rivers impact upon the people, flora and fauna of Sikkim. The Sikkim field course was unlike any other in that we got to tackle important issues in our projects, not only in our disciplines but taking into account a variety of other factors, these skills I believe will be very advantageous in my future career. 

Sikkim 2It was great fun to go to somewhere so different to anywhere I had ever experienced. The 14 days were packed with different visits and opportunities. Having to plan and carry out our individual projects was a valuable experience. The lecturers were extremely enthusiastic, always willing to help and everyone really appreciated the hard work that they went to ensure we had such an amazing time."

The field course is based in Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, a stunning city built on a steep slope with spectacular views of Kangchendzonga, the world’s 3 rd highest mountain. The city is surrounded by subtropical rainforest, rice terraces, and is a paradise for butterflies and orchids. Gangtok is renowned as a centre for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.

Through intensive inter-disciplinary group work students utilise (and pass on) their specialist skills in group exercises and individual projects. These projects span from the monsoon phenomena, biogeography and biodiversity to hydro-electrical power plants, eco-tourism, and migration. Students get an opportunity to meet academics of Sikkim University, Buddhist monks, local politicians and Sikkim’s Ministers.

Selection is competitive and successful students receive a partial bursary from the International Office.