Posted 20 November 2013
I didn’t actually realise the course was new until I started, but it didn’t worry me because I could tell that a lot of effort had gone into developing the curriculum.
Being among the first to study a new course at any university can be daunting, but not for Amy Kennedy and Megan Lewis, who are busy making the most of every opportunity available to them on the wildlife degree course at Harper Adams.
Amy and Megan join eight other students enrolled on BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation with Natural Resource Management at the university in Shropshire – a degree programme that took its first intake in only September.
Now eight weeks in, the students are reflecting on their choice, which will see them complete four years of study, including a 12-month work placement in industry.
18-year-old Amy from East Yorkshire, said: “I first heard about the course through a friend who wanted to study veterinary nursing at Harper Adams. She recommended the university because it is rural and she knew I wanted to work with animals.
“So I visited the website and found the wildlife course. It’s really broad and relevant to UK conservation, unlike a lot of similar courses at other universities.
“I didn’t actually realise the course was new until I started, but it didn’t worry me because I could tell that a lot of effort had gone into developing the curriculum.
“I’m really enjoying it so far, the lecturers are very friendly and easy to talk to. I’m also looking forward to making the most of the facilities on campus – the farm and companion animal unit; and also all of the field trips that are planned.”
Megan, 18 from Great Bolas in Shropshire found out about the course via the UCAS website. She said: “Although I’ve always known about Harper Adams because it is my local university, I didn’t realise that they did a course in wildlife until I visited the UCAS website.
“I came for an open day and loved the friendly, rural campus because it made me feel comfortable. The course was also extremely appealing.
“Now I’m here I really like the fact that the course teaches students about animals and their habitats, as well as including really useful modules on academic development and personal development.
“I knew I’d be one of the first on the course because of finding it via UCAS, but I could tell that by looking at the success of the other degree courses, it would be equally as good.”
Both Amy and Megan have always wanted to work with animals, both having volunteered with their local wildlife trusts. Amy also spent three weeks volunteering in Africa, which inspired her interest in conservation further.
Amy, course representative and member of the conservation society, added: “Students at Harper Adams have similar interests so it has been easy to make new friends and get along with people.
“Ideally I would love a job working with big cats somewhere abroad. I’m hoping I might get the chance to do that for my placement year.”
Megan is still actively involved with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and hopes to rekindle her love for figure skating.
She added: “Although I’m local, I have chosen to live on campus and I really love it. I’ve made plenty of friends in halls and on the course, so it is good to meet a mixture of different people.
“As for my future, I’m the opposite to Amy. I’d like to work with bears and wolves in somewhere like Alaska or Canada!”