Last week I gave you an insight into the first part of our field course to Almeria, and as promised, I’m going to talk today about the last half of the trip. Having looked at many places in the landscape in the first couple of days, we then had two days of field research set by lecturers.
Arnoud took us to a location on a granite karst, where we completed a vegetation survey – for us it was a gorgeously sunny day, so it was really lovely to be out working in the field. The other half of the group were with Mark, with whom we studied the influence of slope aspect (which way a slope faces) on the number of rills/gulleys it had. Half the group went on each trip, before swapping on the second day. These pieces of fieldwork were important as the individual coursework following the trip was a written field report of each of these tasks, so taking good notes and pictures in the field was essential for us to remember when we got home!
The last two days were a bit different. On the Thursday night, we were split into groups of 6 to come up with a proposal for a group research project to be completed over the following two days. It was a difficult and stressful evening, as we had to find something we were all interested in, find a rationale of why it needed to be studied, and what we expected to find, and we then had to pitch the idea to 4 lecturers who told us whether it was good enough. Most of us took a few attempts before our proposal was accepted!
The next day, we went into the field at a location suitable for our project, and were left to complete it during the days, and picked up again by the coach in the afternoon. It was difficult but good fun. This was also key for our module assessment, as the other coursework following the trip was a group presentation of a scientific poster we had made about our research, methodology and results. It was really interesting to listen to the research all the other groups had undertaken.
So that’s a short summary of our trip, and it really was a highlight of my three-year course here at Leicester. It was a very taxing week, with hard work in the field during the days and even more work at the hotel after dinner in the evenings, but it was a great experience and fun nonetheless.
On a side note, the trip was also nice as it really helped our year get to know each other better and bond a bit more. We found a nice Irish pub close to our hotel (they’re everywhere, aren’t they?!) and it was nice having a drink in the evenings with the rest of the group, before walking home along the beach! Check out a photo I took below of the sunrise from our hotel room: