The first masters student to work with our new collaborators at Dhaka University, Bangladesh, has headed out into the field. 

Aina Brias-Guinart, from Spain, flew out to Bangladesh in late May to investigate the possible effects of factories discharging effluent into river courses for her dissertation project.

Aina, a student on Lancaster University’s MSc/MA Environment and Development programme, is collecting crop and soil samples from fields irrigated by river water into which industrial effluent has been discharged.

She will return to the Lancaster Environment Centre with her samples for analysis in the lab to test for possible heavy metal contamination.

Whilst in the field, Aina also intends to interview local farmers to gain an understanding of their views on the possible pollution of their land.

Learning new skills in the field

Now part way through her field work, Aina reports that “working overseas is a totally stimulating experience”. She is learning to continually adapt her plans to the changing conditions and resources available - a key skill in fieldwork and elsewhere.

Aina wants a career focussed on tackling the current and future environmental challenges. She chose to study the Lancaster MSc in Environment and Development because it combines natural and social science, and so provides the tools to improve both the physical and social environment.

“Doing my dissertation project on heavy metal pollution in partnership with the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) has given me the opportunity to work in a completely different environment, allowing me to learn about experiment design, fieldwork planning and execution,” said Aina.

Preparing for an environmental career

“Above all, it will provide me with the skills for working on environmental issues in a country in the Global South, which will be fundamental in my future professional career”.

The MSc/MA in Environment and Development provides all students with the opportunity to undertake a dissertation project in a Developing World country, if they wish. Such experience is highly valued by employers who are working in these countries.