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Thandeka Mashazi

From: South Africa
Studying: MSc Biodiversity with African field course
I speak
English, IsiZulu
MSc Biodiversity with African field course
South Africa

Hello, my name is Thandeka from South Africa and I am studying an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation with African field course. I am here at Leeds on a Chevening scholarship.  I currently hold an MSc in Environmental Management, BSc honours in Geography and BSc in Environmental Management and Geography all from the University of Johannesburg. I was focusing on integrated water resource management, public participation and science communication.  

With the increasing rate of climate change, nature and humans have begun to compete for natural resources, giving rise to human-wildlife conflict. Hence I enrolled for this course at Leeds. I found the courses to be well balanced, between theory, practical and seminars, which allows students to have the theoretical knowledge of the subject as well as to know how to apply it. In turn, this course is equipping me with the necessary skills currently required in my country. I will also have the opportunity to do fieldwork in the Yorkshire Dales as well as in Kenya, giving me a range of the best biodiversity practices and knowledge.  

My career focus is on Human-wildlife conflict, integrated water resource management and advocating for the vulnerable and marginalised communities, which involves a lot of teamwork and community engagement with a diverse group of people. The demographic diversity of the university allows me to broaden my perspective, interact on a deeper level with students from different nationalities, race and background.

The university has also given me the opportunity to be a School Representative, where my role is to be the link between the student and the staff to ensure that the students voices are heard. I get to improve my communication, leadership skills, and form better relationships with my course mates. The overall experience is also very good for my CV and future goals. 

As a nature lover, I also loved the location of the University, it is perfectly situated near the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

The University of Leeds provides an environment which enables a school and social life balance. There are many international students and societies, providing a student a sense of belonging. I have joined the commuters society and the conservation volunteers society. As a student with a disability, I am also very pleased with the disability support the university provides. Finally I find life at University of Leeds to be affordable compared to other cities, with many fun activities and places to explore, which I enjoy doing in my spare time. And it is also best located, which makes getting into the train and touring the UK much easier.  I currently commute from Bradford, which is manageable as the public transport here is effective. 

Overall Leeds is such a beautiful university with so many cool spots to relax and work in! Currently my favourite spots are the Roger Stevens pond and the Laidlaw library, where the city view when I am working is break taking.   

Ask me anything at or let's chat on UniBuddy.

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