Getting industry experience while studying at Falmouth

02 May 2024

A white building behind greenery
Fal campus
Type: Text
Category: Studying

This article was written by Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) student Rei.

Deciding to go to university is a huge step for many students and choosing a course can be an even bigger choice!

There are many things you have to take into consideration, from whether the course lines up with your interests, to whether this field of study could lead to a professional career later. Especially for a creative course, the thought of pursuing a career in creative fields can be quite daunting. This was definitely the case for me when choosing my course as a Marine and Natural History Photography (MNHP) student.

As a first-year student, I didn't know what to expect in terms of the work and the opportunities that I could potentially find. Especially with my lack of prior experience in photography, I didn't think that I would get any experience outside of my studies. Fortunately, as I finish off my first year in Marine and Natural History Photography, I now hold two roles that directly relate to what I want to pursue as a wildlife photographer.

In October 2023, less than a month since I started university, one of my lecturers advertised a position with AK Wildlife Cruises in Falmouth. They were specifically looking for first-year photographers and filmmakers to join their crew and MNHP was an obvious choice to reach out to. As a huge cetacean nerd, I knew I had to apply to this position even though I didn't have any boat experience and I had very limited knowledge on the local marine wildlife at the time. Despite that, I ended up joining the wonderful AK Wildlife Cruises crew! I received some great marine life identification training through the MarineWatch Society before I started my role and I have now worked on many trips with AK Wildlife Cruises! Since starting my role, I've had the opportunity to film common dolphins underwater, photograph puffins, spot & observe rare seabirds and speak to passengers about the wonderful marine life Cornwall has to offer. I am still working this role and I'm planning on doing so until I graduate from Falmouth!

After spending a couple of months as an MNHP student and really getting settled into university life, I came across an opportunity with a local conservation group called Falmouth Marine Conservation. A volunteer-driven community group committed to safeguarding our marine environment, with a passion for connecting people with nature. Falmouth Marine group's mission revolves around Citizen Science, Collaboration, Education and Engagement. They run a variety of marine events from snorkel safaris to Rockpool rambles, which aligned with my own interests and my course. The marine group were advertising a mix of roles to volunteer with them and I was eager to apply, as I was interested in joining their wonderful team. After an initial phone in interview with them, they wanted to give me an opportunity to showcase my work and join the team. So, they gave me the chance to create my very own role within Falmouth Marine Conservation Committee! Given my love for conservation education and photography, it was not very hard for me to create a role. I am now slowly settling into my role as a photographer and blog writer. Through this role, I am planning on writing monthly blogs for Falmouth Marine Conservation and incorporating my own photography work into each one. Helping showcase the amazing work Falmouth Marine Conservation group are doing, whilst also building on my own skills and portfolio.

Besides the two roles that I currently take part in, there have been endless amounts of opportunities for me to connect with the alumni of this course. Many of them now work directly in the wildlife photography and film industry, such as the BBC. I have had the chance to connect with many of them through social media, as well as in-person through guest lectures and field trips!

While the thought of pursuing a career in your field of study can sometimes be scary, I am confident that the opportunities are out there. You just have to search for them and say yes to anything that piques your interest! This might sound daunting right now, but with the support from the university and from your peers, anything could potentially lead to a professional career!

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