Michele Pfeifer

Michele Pfeifer

United States of America
MSc Geographic Information and Climate Change

My three favourite things about my course are the field trip opportunities to get outside the classroom, the variety of topics covered, and some of the people met on the course.

I did my undergrad in Kentucky and Indiana in the US, first completing a degree in mathematics, then going on to also complete degrees in geosciences and sustainability. I’m not sure yet what I want to do next, probably find some sort of job related to GIS and the environment, but I don’t know whether where that could be yet.

I was drawn to Swansea’s location in South Wales and location on the beach. I applied to a few universities in England and Wales but was more drawn to the Welsh universities, as I was curious to learn more about Welsh culture. It seemed like Swansea was a decent sized city, but was also safe and friendly and had access to nature. The course I chose also sounded interesting, as it combined my interests in GIS as well as environmental issues.

Most of the modules are compulsory and there’s only a couple modules we get to choose from. This is a little different than what I am used to back home but is not terrible. I enjoyed the Environmental Dynamics module last semester, as it covered a variety of interesting topics and had a couple field trips. I enjoy having the opportunity to go on field trips or do some field work, as this helps me learn some of the concepts better and allows me to see some  of the surrounding areas.

I have had the university careers team look at my CV to see what is different in what’s expected here vs back home. I have also been to a couple events they’ve hosted, though I hope to engage with them more in the future because I’m sure I will need some help with what to do after I complete my program.

I have learned some new skills whilst I'm here - I've gotten some exposure to different field work skills, which I think will be valuable, as well as some assignments that have made me analyse real, messy data, which is something I could potentially have to do in my future career. I have had to work on my writing and time management skills as well, which are useful skills for any career I go into.

I am a member of a few societies, including the Geography Society and Tree Society, though I will admit that I have not been very engaged with them. I joined the knitting group on campus and am trying to learn how to knit, so that has been nice. I’ve also gone to a few different events and trips hosted by the university, like the day trip to Birmingham or the movie nights, and I appreciate having those opportunities.

My three favourite things about Swansea in general would be the beach, the culture, and it proximity to other places. I love that I can take a walk on the beach almost everyday from my dorm, and there are some great nature places to walk to, like Singleton Park and Clyne Gardens. I also love the Gower Peninsula and how close I am to so many beautiful beaches. It is great to get to see some Welsh culture different places, like in Swansea Market and the many museums in city centre. I also like its location in South Wales, as the weather is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I can still go to London or many other places in just a few hours.

If anyone is considering applying here I would say go for it! Obviously do your research and reach out to faculty and staff to make sure it is a good fit, but there are lots of opportunities available here, as well as some great beaches, so I don’t think you can really go wrong picking Swansea. There’s something for everyone here, and Swansea is a very welcoming city.