When Lisa Oates, first year BSc Business Management with Marketing, decided to make the journey from Malaysia to the UK to study, she initially came with the idea of being a vet. Inspired by her love of animals from a young age, this was the career path she envisioned and, with the great opportunity of a foundation year in Animal Management and Welfare, the door to higher education was opened for her.
"As much as I love animals," Lisa explained, "I couldn't see myself on the path to becoming a vet anymore. I wanted something more creative and the opportunity to try something new." Thus, over the summer, Lisa came back to Harper Adams with the idea of being a business student in mind. With the flexibility and creativity she was looking for, the degree change has been fulfilling for her so far. "I'm really glad I made the change. I have a lot to catch up on but the challenge is worth it."
So far, the enterprise modules have been Lisa favourites, offering the chance to design and facilitate concepts within the agricultural setting. "I love developing ideas," she said, "and it's something I'd love to follow up in my placement year. Ideally I'd like to do six months of work and six months studying, hopefully at Cornell University, USA. I'm working hard to open the door to these opportunities the way my foundation year did for my degree."
As an international student, Lisa did not visit campus before arriving in England to start studying, saying, "I'm not from a farming background so it was a very different environment to usual. It was scary but exciting as it gave me the chance to understand agriculture in context." At Harper Adams, we value the insight of a non-farming background as a window into the consumer point of view, as well as a voice to challenge preconceptions.
Lisa also found the SU to be of benefit in transitioning into life at Harper Adams saying, "The societies brought together diversity, enabling me to meet other international students. We bonded over a shared experience of being so far away from home, being able to empathise with one another."
While the first few weeks were tough, Lisa has settled into her more rural life and encourages other international students to find their place at Harper Adams too. "I'm really glad I came here; the lecturers are great at what they do, and you can tell they are passionate in sharing their knowledge too. It's so worth international students looking into coming to Harper Adams - they can teach you things you won't learn anywhere else."