Image of Sandra Ponde, Leeds alumni

Sandra Mulenga Ponde

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

It’s an internationally recognised university for its high quality social science research and skills. The Sustainability Research Institute is top class in research work with very helpful stuff always on hand to offer guidance when required. Plus the learning support system like skills at library, language zone and personal development are very useful systems that came highly recommended by my friend and scholarship board (The Beit Trust).

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University so far and why?

During the course of the year my ability to think independently while remaining critical has improved tremendously. This skill has impressed me very much because the whole teaching is centred around developing an independent thinker out of a student  and this has been achieved for me. I am most impressed with the teaching style by University of Leeds staff particularly those from school of Earth and Environment  Sustainability Research Institute.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

The most exciting project was working on my masters thesis titled policy coherence between the national policy on climate change and climate sensitive sectors in Zambia. Its been exciting because it allowed me to employ and put to practice all the knowledge I had gathered over the past year, it’s amazing how much I have learnt and to have to put it down on paper has been a great achievement for me. My qualitative research skills are quite well developed now, am very pleased with myself

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds city is a beautiful modern city that has everything a new and international student can learn from. It has diverse culture lots of new things around it’s a place where you will find exactly what you need. No need to change to fit in, it develops your self being. Its also surrounded by beautiful old towns and villages so if you are into old architecture and a lover of castles like me, you will love York,  Kirkstall Abbey and Knaresborough

What are your ambitions for the future?

To pursue a doctorate study in global sustainability governance.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

It’s positioned me for a promotion to senior ecologist,  I have gained research skills that will make a huge impact to my work, having been working as an ecologist for the past 3 years, I now have skills to enhance my extension work since I am quite aware of the interconnected nature of environment and development issues so I am equipped with skills to deal with natural resource management in a holistic manner.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

My year at University of Leeds has been the best year of my life, it’s has definitely been life changing, fun, insightful and simply amazing.  Studying at Leeds is amazing but it’s not for the faint hearted. Remain focused,  the research, teaching and learning support system will help you improve and as long as you work hard. You will be better, improve and be among the best. Do not change to fit in, university of Leeds is very diverse so you will probably find someone who is into what you are into. Make use of the facilities at the student union.