Outgoing Students 28.01.23

Working with big cats: Trip of a lifetime

Studying for a master's degree in Wildlife Documentary Production, Sevim's passion for nature led her to apply for an opportunity abroad, and enabled her to fulfil a life-long dream: working with big cats.

We asked Sevim all about the experience getting up close and personal with large felines.

Closeup of a large tiger lying down

Why did you decide to work abroad?

I have always wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to be different and enrich my experiences, and grow as an individual. I wanted to work with a range of species and understand the biology and behaviour of organisms that we do not have here in the UK. I wanted to experience the world on a much larger scale.

Did you receive support from the staff at Salford?

The support I received from my lecturers was second to none. They really took the time to focus on individual goals to help us all achieve the best possible outcomes. I was taught about everything from insurance, to funding, to how to represent the University of Salford. I was fortunate to have the support from staff and I thank them for assisting me and guiding me in the right direction. In the end, I added a new organisation to my list of placement opportunities!

How was working at your host institution different?

I have to say, it was unusual - the culture in Spain is very different and they have different requirements and standards, but I settled in quite well. I completed the tasks to the best of my ability and took on board any feedback. Learning to work with large cats in the field was quite a change to learning about them in a lecture theatre, but I was given the appropriate training before being trusted to work on my own. Health and safety forms were filled in beforehand and we discussed participating in, and how comfortable we were, with the tasks.

What was your favourite experience while abroad?

I could not possibly give you one answer! One of my favourite experiences was learning about a different culture, as well as learning about the physical and psychological requirements of large cats. Having this valuable experience under my belt will help to show organisations and companies that I am committed to this field of work. I’ve also met new friends who I’ve stayed in touch with since coming home.

Student lying down on top of a hill with a view of a Spanish city in the background

What is the best thing about working abroad?

Working with large cats. I have always had a massive passion for large felines, and I am blessed that I got to fulfil my ambition of working with them during my university years.

What have you gained from this experience?

The experience has enabled me to gain confidence, friendships and valuable knowledge on large cat behaviour. It has also improved my team work, independent learning and time management skills. Most of all, it has strengthened my passion for conservation more than ever; I understand and appreciate wildlife and care deeply for the species.

What would you say to someone considering studying or working abroad?

Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it: pluck up the courage to take that step, open those doors that are waiting to be opened, speak to your lecturers and attend those 1-2-1 sessions. Ask questions: listen to that curious side of yourself.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment, I’m studying my master’s degree in Wildlife Documentary Production. In the future, I want to inspire generations about the beauty of wildlife and allow them to discover the hidden world of what mother nature has created. I would also like to delve into the world of the illegal wildlife trade. That is another passion of mine: the opportunities are endless.