Leigha Little, from the USA, is studying MRes Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I decided to study in the UK for the cultural experience, and also to learn about conservation from a different perspective.

Conservation is managed differently in the UK compared to the USA, primarily due to the loss of large carnivores from the British Isles.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds is ranked highly for research, and offers a fantastic programme in biodiversity and conservation. I wanted to expand my skills at a top-ranking institution, and the course allowed me to choose very hands-on modules to broaden my research experience.

The university also offered me the opportunity to travel to Belize and Kenya - as part of a summer project and an ecology field course respectively - which was a dream come true. It was something that I would not have been able to do in America.

In addition, I enjoyed going to Malham Tarn as part of the induction, and again for the practical conservation with the National Trust field week.

How did you get involved in university life?

I have become programme representative for MRes Biodiversity and Conservation, as well a Graduate School representative for the Faculty of Biological Sciences. It has been a challenge, but I have improved my networking and leadership skills throughout the year.

I feel a sense of pride and importance within the university, as students can talk to me directly about issues without feeling any pressure or anxiety. As an international student, I understand the great benefit that this provides to others from outside the UK and European Union (EU) who may not feel comfortable or sure of how to address issues.

What do you enjoy most about living in the UK?

It is definitely meeting new people from around the globe. The vast majority of students on the programme are English, but the few other international students have come from many different places throughout Europe and the wider world.

I even met a fellow American in the bioscience faculty who had travelled over from Seattle.

What advice would you give to others considering postgraduate study in the UK?

Absolutely try to explore Europe while you're here. The distance that international students from North and South America have to travel to see some of the iconic European cities is usually too great, but the UK provides a fantastic means to travel the continent.

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