The University of Southampton
Engineering and the EnvironmentUndergraduate study

Annabel Solnik Environmental Management with Business

Current student

Annabel Solnik's Photo

I love how varied my course is, as I can explore many different areas of Environmental Science and find out more about different industries. This is very useful for improving my employability as there are many different opportunities available to me when I graduate.

Why did you choose to come to Southampton?

I wanted to live abroad and experience living on my own whilst seeing the world. I chose to come to Southampton as it is one of the best universities in UK and the Environmental Science course at Southampton is very good.

Why did you choose to specialise rather than taking a broader Environmental Science course?

I really liked the idea of having a semester in industry which would give me an opportunity to gain valuable work experience. I thought that my course would help me improve my transferrable skills more than the regular Environmental Science course would. It also gives me a more people-based approach where I can work with companies in order to make the biggest change.

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

I love how varied it is and how many different aspects of Environmental Science I can explore and learn about. It gives me an opportunity to go into different parts of industries. My course is very relevant to everything that is happening in the world now, and this demonstrates the different career prospects available to me when I graduate.

What are your lecturers and tutors like? Have you found them supportive?

It seems to me that The Centre for Environmental Science staff and students are closer than any other school in our university. It is like one big family which is formed through pool competitions on the field course in Exeter during first year and Environmental Science seminars on Wednesday afternoons.

As there are approximately 40 people in every year group in Environmental Science, I think our lecturers and tutors can have a more personal approach towards their students. They always encourage us to challenge them and ask questions which is a great way to learn and understand each topic.

Tutor meetings are a big part of every Environmental Science student’s first year. The weekly tutor group meetings helped me to kick off my student life in the university. They helped me to understand my course and university life better and I always had an opportunity to ask questions and get help. Tutor group meetings definitely gave me more confidence to speak English as I had a chance to start talking in front of a small group of people. As a student from the European Union, I think tutor groups are extremely helpful when integrating into university life abroad.

In what ways have you been able to tailor your course to suit your interests and career aspirations?

It was extremely difficult to choose only four optional modules for my second year as all the Environmental Science modules seemed interesting. I chose a couple of sustainability modules (UOSM modules) because of their different teaching and assignment styles. This allowed me to take up several extracurricular activities to improve my transferrable skills and get more involved in student life. So far the modules have proven to be very interesting. I also tried to consider recommendations from alumni which they made during one of our many career events about what employers are looking for.

How have the practical elements of the course helped to enhance your learning?

I think fieldwork is one of the best ways to learn about the environment. Being out there in a river in waders collecting water samples of invertebrates and then using statistics to come up with results helps you learn more about water quality than reading about someone else doing it.

The Exeter field course, a highlight of the first year and maybe the whole degree, is a way to explore very different aspects of Environmental Science. We had a different field work exercise every day which allowed us to try out a whole range of instruments for data collection. The skills I learnt during that week will be extremely useful later in my career. Field work also helps us to understand concepts better.

What are your career plans after you’ve completed your course?

As I am almost half-way through my course I have a couple of ideas about what I will do after graduating. As I believe everyone on the Environmental Science course is, I am extremely interested in our world and travelling would be a way to see the world in order to understand it better. All of my plans involve going abroad at some point. I would like to volunteer abroad in a part of the world I haven’t been to yet. Another option could be to work in an Environmental Science field for a couple of years either in the UK or abroad, or continue my studies and complete a postgraduate course.

How do you think your course will help you in your future career?

I think that the Environmental Science degree is extremely helpful whatever road I choose to take. Our lecturers are part of a big network of environmental professionals and becoming part of that network will be useful in my future career.

If you could give prospective students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dream big and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Always try new things and say yes to opportunities.

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