Pip Myram on her dream job: field guide in South Africa

My name is Pip Myram and I graduated in 2014 from the University of Gloucestershire with a First Class degree in Animal Biology. I am now taking up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in South Africa as an assistant volunteer coordinator and freelance field guide.

This whole adventure began when I attended a talk about volunteering abroad. I signed up as a research volunteer with Operation Wallacea in 1st and 2nd year, which led me to undertake my dissertation data collection in South Africa: a study to determine whether Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) could be used as an indicator species of browse availability in Welgevonden Game Reserve. After completing 3rd year I headed straight back to the wilds of Southern Africa for an intense 6 month training stint to become a fully qualified field guide and back up trails guide. For the following 6 month placement, I struck some serious luck and landed on my feet working as a student guide in various 5* lodges and student volunteer coordinator. The job varies hugely from day to day, and is definitely not your typical “9-5” office job which is something I never wanted. Without my degree in Animal Biology it wouldn’t be possible to be pursuing my dream job. The course for me was a fantastic backing to further understand and apply animal behaviour, natural history, taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and conservation protocols in a real-world setting.

Not-so-typical Saturday morning: a quick photo with this young adult female cheetah as she and her sister were captured for relocation back into the reserve. While sedated, animals are closely monitored and held for as little time as possible - the drugs used are pretty potent!

Not-so-typical Saturday morning: a quick photo with this young adult female cheetah as she and her sister were captured for relocation back into the reserve. While sedated, animals are closely monitored and held for as little time as possible – the drugs used are pretty potent!

What I loved most about studying at the University of Gloucestershire is that there is so much flexibility in the modules and the range of modules you can take allows you to really focus on what interests YOU and make your assignments your own, whatever the brief.  The staff were brilliant and support was always there when needed, no matter how big or small issues were.

My advice to current students: make the most of the opportunities presented to you, and try to do something unique during your studies. This will give you an edge and make you stand out when it comes to job hunting. Good luck!

Pip Myram, BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s