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Exploring alpine environments: destination New Zealand for QMUL geographers and environmental science students

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Geography and environmental science studies can take students all over the world as they seek to research and analyse the theories and data they learn about in the lecture room. Easter is a busy fieldwork season for QMUL Geography and students travelled to destinations as diverse as the Cairngorms, Scotland to the Everglades in Florida. Here, BA Geographer Antaia Christou writes about her experience travelling to New Zealand where she and fellow students explored alpine environments.

“In this short story, I’d like to share with you some of the sights and studies from the other side of the world…


Every other day involved something interesting; in some of the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve seen.

You also get the chance to wake up to this view and watch the sunrise!

Now focusing on the learning part…being able to conduct research within our groups was also exciting since you get to observe and learn more about the area, and what’s better than to do this having this amazing view? The whole day involved walking around the Mt Cook National Park, as well as collecting and measuring samples. Being around such a wonderful area, makes sample collection a bit more pleasant!

This picture was taken while we were wandering around the area trying to decide our sample site areas.

After some walking we finally decided upon one sample site!

Another day involved walking around the Franz Joseph Glacier, which was definitely one unforgettable day for me. Getting the chance to experience glaciated environment hands on was really exciting. You always get to be told the theory about it, however when you get to walk around it yourself, you then realise how impressive and dynamic this environment is.

Our guides as well as the lecturers were very enthusiastic, willing to answer any question, and of course they have loads of experience and knowledge about all the processes that take place within these environments. This is certainly decisive when it comes to how much you can gain out of this experience on an academic level.


Another thing that really impressed me was the fact that within a few kilometers of the glaciated mountain tops, there are tropical forests, which just shows how dynamic the place is.

Overall, this has been the most exciting fieldtrip I’ve been to, and it has helped me to comprehend more about glaciers as well as have fun walking around New Zealand!”

A word about the author: Antaia Christou is one of QMUL Geography’s students. She is studying for her BA Geography and is due to graduate this year. She has also been one of the School’s Geography Ambassadors and represents the department at open days and other events.

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