Geography and Environment

Undergraduate study

“My course was the ideal choice for me as it gave me the chance to gain a broad understanding in both human and physical geography, before gradually specialising over the years.”

Catharina Lundby

Year of Study: Final
Qualification(s): BSc (Hons)
Course: Geography

Why did you choose Loughborough University?

Geography is about people, places, economies and the environment and therefore allows you to explore a broad range of highly relevant subject areas in one interdisciplinary degree. I chose to study Geography at Loughborough University for a range of reasons. The campus is beautiful, friendly and welcoming with modern facilities that are in a league of their own. The lecturers are experts in their field and the department offers a wide range of both human and physical geography modules. There are also excellent opportunities to go on field trips to destinations including New York, Wales, Crete and Paris. I also chose Loughborough because of its sporting reputation, as I was keen to continue running competitively at University.

When I was applying to study Geography, I did not know whether I wanted to focus my attention on human geography or physical geography. Loughborough’s Geography department was an ideal choice because it gave me the chance to gain a broad understanding of both, and then gradually specialise as the course progressed. I also liked the fact that the University as well as the Geography department was highly ranked in the league tables, but that it was nevertheless ‘elite’ without being ‘elitist’.

I think Loughborough is a University that strikes the perfect balance between offering students an excellent education and recognising the value of promoting other dimensions to the university experience, including social life, sports, volunteering, gaining work experience whilst still a student and more.

What do you enjoy about your course?

The aspect of my degree that I enjoy the most is the highly integrated structure of the course. Each lecture and each module builds on previous knowledge and you soon begin to see the bigger picture. I love the way it all comes together so perfectly; nothing you learn on this course is in isolation from the rest and everything you learn fits into a broader picture. It all comes together so wonderfully and it’s great feeling part of the Geography community; particularly feeling as though every student makes a contribution to the department.

I have also enjoyed the freedom we are given and the confidence lectures have in us by giving us this level of independence. Particularly in our final year, we are able to tailor our assignments to our own areas of interests. For instance, I recently wrote an essay on the urban challenges in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa, which I really enjoyed because it was a topic that I could engage with without any restrictions. I was also particularly fond of the second year ‘Globalisation’ group project because it gave me the chance to work closely with a group of peers to produce a report on a very interesting and current subject area; UK devolution and constitutional change. The peers that I worked with were all fantastic and sharing the responsibility of producing a good piece of work made it an enjoyable challenge.

What are some of the exciting things you can do on your course?

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in activities that go beyond the degree itself. The department values extra-curricular activities and we have an excellent department student committee who engage students and staff in interdepartmental sporting events, photo and baking competitions.

The field trips are of course a major highlight both academically and socially (the majority of them are an additional cost that is not included in the tuition fee). The department also offers opportunities to study abroad, which is an excellent opportunity to experience a different setting as well as study a different set of topics. This year I have friends who are studying in both Singapore and Sweden. There is also the option of undertaking a year in industry, which provides you with invaluable experience in the workplace and is a great way of boosting your CV.

What do you think of the teaching quality and facilities?

Loughborough University has some of the best facilities in the country, which is one of the reasons that I applied to study here in the first place. The quality of teaching is no different. The lecturers are experts in their field and their passion for their subject area is reflected in their delivery of the course material. The department really values student feedback and we are always given the opportunity to share our thoughts on the quality of teaching and lecture venues at the end of each module, so that changes can be made if necessary.

Have you had any support from the University?

There is plenty of support within the department. In the first year, we are each assigned a personal tutor who we can turn to with any issues, queries or feedback. Throughout the degree we have regular meetings with our tutor to discuss goals, progress and any problems that we might have. The lecturers are very approachable and encourage students to reach out to them, either in person or via e-mail, should additional help be needed. The department also has a student-staff liaison committee, which makes sure that feedback and information is shared between students and the department in a formal manner. Regular meetings are held and everyone is kept informed. The University also offers a range of reliable student services. They can for instance offer advice and support on matters such as finance and housing, or specific queries for international students. Coming to university for the first time can be really difficult – I certainly struggled to find my feet in my first term in a new country away from my family – and the counselling service made this time a lot easier. I have also found the University’s Careers and Employability Centre’ a very useful service throughout my years here. They offer support on anything from beginning to choose a career area to more specific help with applications and CVs, interview training and funding for postgraduate degrees. Whatever the support you may need there is a service that can help at Loughborough.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

After graduating from Loughborough I will be completing a summer internship with a London based property consultancy, working for their urban development and regeneration department. I hope that this will lead to new opportunity for me within the urban planning sector. I would ultimately like to complete an RTPI or RICS accredited spatial planning postgraduate degree to later work on managing some of the pressing urban challenges of today. I think my degree in Geography from Loughborough has not only supported this endeavour but also opened up this career opportunity for me. It was an area that I knew very little about before coming here and which I have gained an interest in through studying modules that focus on the changing urban and regional landscapes of the UK and other countries around the world.

What would you say to someone considering your course?

Studying Geography at Loughborough is the best decision I have made. The department is comprised of the most welcoming and supportive teaching and support staff who do their outmost to see every student succeed. The course content is very well chosen, structured and delivered and provides you with an excellent set of transferable skills that can later be applied in a job setting or developed further in a postgraduate degree.

How do you find the social atmosphere on campus?

Loughborough has a very inclusive social atmosphere. I think the most common misconception is that everyone is involved in sports and that if you aren’t then you are somehow at a disadvantage. Whilst it is true that the there is a unique sporting culture at Loughborough, being interested in or good at sports is absolutely not a ‘necessity’ to study here.

There is, however, a very unique social atmosphere that comes with the sporting aspect of the University, which I experienced when I joined the Athletics Union and trained for the University’s Athletics team. I think it is a factor that adds to the pride of being a student here. From an international student’s perspective, the social atmosphere is very inclusive and welcoming. Nevertheless, in my first year I found it comforting to join the Student Union’s Scandinavian Society to feel closer to home, and I subsequently became their committee chairman. Being involved in a society of your choice definitely adds to the social experience of being at Loughborough because you get to meet likeminded people who enjoy the same activities as you do.

What do you enjoy most about being a student here?

There is a real sense of pride about being a Loughborough student. We call it the Loughborough ‘bubble’ for a reason. When you’re here you are automatically part of a unique family of purple hoodies. I enjoy studying the subject I love at a University where each student is supported to succeed and where every opportunity is at your doorstep. I particularly enjoy gaining my independence in an environment that still feels secure in terms of the excellent support offered. I like the fact that the town is small because it means that the University is really like a little world in itself, which I think provides a unique environment for learning.

Has Loughborough inspired you?

Loughborough has inspired me to always make the most of the opportunities that arise. The University is unique in that every opportunity is right there at your doorstep, you just have to branch out and take them. I have been inspired to say ‘yes’ to new activities, and have been heavily involved in sports, societies, and part-time employment on the side of my studies. I think Loughborough is the perfect place to enable you to find out what kind of person you want to be and you are bound to meet like-minded people here. Loughborough has also inspired me to strive to succeed in all my endeavours. Being in an atmosphere where success and achievement is celebrated, regardless of how you define these terms personally, really spurs you on as an individual.