I am a third year BSc Countryside Management student at Aberystwyth University, in my final year of study, and I have to say I’m not looking forward to leaving.
The support I’ve had through the Rural Sciences department of IBERS (Institution of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences) has been astronomical. Not only are the faculty helpful, they’re fun, they chat with us in the tea room and they’re so approachable, their office doors are always open.
The personal touch in the department is probably down to the low number of students on each discipline; after three years, everyone knows each other and a real family atmosphere develops.
Lectures are always engaging, each with their own unique style, and our indoors theory is backed up by multiple visits and workshops to see it in practise; usually in the surrounding area, but sometimes further afield, such as the first year, week-long study tour to Shropshire.
The fact that Aberystwyth is itself in the heart of Rural Wales adds to much of the field work, with examples of practises right on the doorstep; seeing farming practices, a variety of habitat types and conducting our own site audits.
Our assignments prepare us for the world of work, and whilst there are plenty of critical essays to write, there are also scientific reports, management plans, presentations, seminars and interpretive media designs to be assessed on. Because let’s face it, as countryside managers, we’d hardly be much use if all we could do is write one hell of an essay.
In terms of student life, the compact nature of Aberystwyth town itself is incredibly handy and cheap too! Student sport clubs and societies enrich the experience, and my involvement in Aberystwyth Conservation Volunteers since I was a fresher has seen me become secretary, and now president – using a lot of interpersonal and organisational skills as well as widening my practical rural skill set.
I would recommend Aberystwyth University (and have, on open days) to anyone looking to study a rural science course.
writes Alexandra Foster