Finding My Path: Exploring Geography Courses in Search of the Right University
Choosing the right university that matches your passions and future aspirations is not an easy task! I clearly remember the admissions process: writing my letters, organising all the papers, and researching universities. Here are the reasons why I think I found the right university for me, alongside the thought process behind it.
Ever since high school, I held a strong interest in both human and physical geography. I was passionate about what was happening in my hometown, with all its urban and transport projects, but also problems related to urban planning. I have always been inquisitive about the climates, people, and cultures across borders. Since I was reading online about all sorts of geographical facts and phenomena relevant to our contemporary world, I thought to myself that my university needs to sustain this passion and curiosity and provide a strong theoretical and practical framework for me to use in the future. Exploring UK universities revealed interesting options, but most of them were too specialised in topics such as culture and arts or coastal erosion and restoration. So why not do both… or more? At The University of Manchester, the course impressed me with its openness to interdisciplinary research in geography, its optional modules, which include the Creating a Sustainable World world-renowned program, and the lively and extensive descriptions of the modules, which made me feel familiar with the contents before even starting.
Fieldtrips: A Geographer’s Dream
Another aspect that I took into consideration when choosing the right university for me was the opportunity to explore places beyond the city where I study, enhance my research skills, and discover nature and anthropogenic processes through the lens of a geographer. When looking for university options, I prioritised geography courses with integrated fieldtrips that could get me to places I would not have visited otherwise. For example, the Keswick fieldtrip aimed at connecting peers and professors. The fieldtrips are designed to enhance knowledge taught in classes, and the international fieldtrips in second year prepare you for your dissertation research to be conducted in the final year of study. In my case, the fieldtrip was organised in Edinburgh due to COVID-19, but it was still a fantastic opportunity for my studies and tourism dreams combined. In hindsight, I realise more and more the skills, professionalism, and ethical behaviours that this course determined me to develop, so once again, kudos to Manchester!
Learning and Job Opportunities
What is the right university without exciting extra-curricular opportunities to enhance my experience and CV? That is what I thought to myself when I was choosing my university. While I am not a firm believer in academic rankings as a key indicator of excellent university experience, they do hold some truth since they represent the sustained efforts of educational institutions to deliver, inspire and motivate students in their professional and personal endeavours. The University of Manchester is an award-winning institution, ranking high in employability, social responsibility, and research. When I chose my university, I kept in mind these rankings knowing that they reflect the dedication of course developers which makes students’ efforts smoother and stronger for life. With a GIS internship completed in a wildfire research project right at the University of Manchester, I must say this university helped me tick off all learning, research, and job aspirations I could dream of as a student. And this is just the beginning of it all!
This is how I chose the right university for me, and as you may be looking for your dream university, I recommend you to follow these tips to tailor your choice to your own needs and passion. Best of luck!
Written by Andrei, current BA Geography student at The University of Manchester