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.
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