Louise Bienfait

Country: The Netherlands
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: MSc Student
Subject of study: Conservation Biology and Ecology
Year of graduation: 2017
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Wageningen University

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After leaving Exeter I decided to take a gap year to get some work experience. I started as a volunteer with ARK Natuurontwikkeling. At first I would be joining the behaviour research of the large grazers on the Maashorst, Netherlands. However, I was soon asked whether I could coordinate all the interns helping with this research project instead. I also started a voluntary internship at the NIOZ institute in Yerseke, Netherlands where I worked on a project from EcoPotential. After a few months I was offered a paid job with EcoPotential. In September 2018 I started my MSC Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Even though it wasn’t that far from the Netherlands, it was a completely different atmosphere for me to live and study in. I loved the mixture of lectures and practical work both in the lab and field.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I wanted to study in the UK to improve my English even further, mostly my accent, but also to experience a whole different way of studying to what we know in the Netherlands. As Exeter offers a well balanced mixture of theoretical and practical lessons, this was the perfect university for me.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

I left Exeter with a very well set up CV, which has really helped me at finding work. Also my improved writing skills have proved to be incredibly useful and appreciated.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Be yourself, talk to as many people as you can and don’t be scared to take on new opportunities that cross your path. Relevant experience is key, so get as much as you can.

What are your plans for the future?

I will still be busy with my MSc degree for the next two years and then I will start looking for a job again. This can be in the Netherlands or abroad, whatever crosses my path at that moment. I have learned to let go more, so I do not try to plan my entire career years ahead.


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