Hi there, I’m Oliver. I’m currently in my second year studying Geography in Ambleside.

What’s it like studying Geography at the University of Cumbria?

I love the course offered up here, there’s a great mix of modules covering a very broad range of topics. Plus, it’s a very cool location to get the chance to study in! I love the outdoors and am involved in most sports in some way or another! I’m particularly interested in the links between Physical and Human Geography, specifically how the landscape affects the humans living on it.

Why did I choose Cumbria?

I chose Cumbria for its small class sizes and large focus on fieldwork. We all know each other really well on the course and we get to know our lecturers too. Like many unis some of your modules are shared, so we’re part of a bigger class for about half of our modules. Obviously, this reduces as you start to choose more specialist modules throughout the degree.

What are your favourite things on the course?

My favourite things on the course are undoubtably the fieldtrips.

In terms of fieldwork, we probably get out at least every 2 weeks. As students we talk about these in two main ways, first of all we get the informally known “See stuff” trip. This is where we get to go out and see ongoing projects in the National Park and meet some of the stakeholders and leaders who are working on them. Past examples include rewilding rivers in RSPB Haweswater and impacts of tourism on the ecology of Helvellyn.

Our other main type of fieldtrip is “do stuff”, this is where we are taken out to visit a site and collect some data. Here we get the chance to improve our collection skills, through gathering data and further analysis when we get back. Examples include Peat bog coring, river sediment analysis and resource appraisals. 

What has been your favourite module and why? How are the lecturers?

My favourite module so far has been Habitats and Ecosystems. In this module we looked at various ecosystems and the habitats they provide, with a particular focus on the stakeholders at play for each. I found this really interesting, particularly learning about the interplay between stakeholders and the influence on the habitat and surrounding ecosystem. In my module we contributed to a long-term study involving the impacts of deer grazing on tree regeneration, this was fascinating project to learn about and subsequently write a report on. The module was also filled with some great fieldtrips, which happened to be the main delivery of teaching for the module.

In terms of the teaching up here, the lecturers are great. We don’t have big lecture halls, which really helps in some of the more complicated topics; the lecturers can see when you’re not getting it and can slow down or explain it a different way. You can always ask questions and they’re helpful when it comes to assignments. Something that can’t often be said! 

Has it been easy to make friends?

It’s very easy to make friends with the small numbers of people up here. You get to know people walking around campus or town, giving the place a real sense of community. There are some great active societies to get involved with, that are always organising fun activities or social nights. Living in the centre of the National Park means there’s lots of activities to get involved in. The on-site bouldering wall is always a fun visit, there are a fair few mountains to wander up and lakes to get wet in! I think most people here are always eyeing up the next adventure!

A few examples of the societies include: the Paddling Society – filled with beginners to avid kayakers, who enjoy fun sessions on the local lakes alongside river trips around the country. The Mountaineering Society – An enthusiastic group who go on lots of mountain walks, climbing and mountain film festival nights.

What job or further study are you hoping to do after you graduate?

Personally, I’m looking at something within the field of Geography; perhaps as an environmental consultant or something involving hydrology. I honestly don’t know quite yet but that’s what uni is for.

Visit our Geography programmes in the Institute of Science and Environment

Ambleside in the evening

Ambleside in the evening

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