Study Abroad Experiences

Leslie Rucker

Leslie Rucker
Leslie Rucker with a baby serval

My study abroad experience in South Africa was everthing I hoped for. Spending seven months in another country broadened my experience on many levels. I was exposed to entirely different viewpoints about everything from politics to music. In addition, I got to learn about how wildlife and conservation issues are handled in South Africa.

Through the Wildlife Management Center at the University of Pretoria, I was included in a small class of students who were all crazy about wildlife. In addition, I got to work on a game farm and experience South Africa on a very personal level.

Between field work on the farm and class excursions, I spent plenty of time exploring Africa's wilder places. And the wildlife was amazing. Never in my life did I dream observing elephant, cheetah, rhino, etc. in their natural habitat would become a normal thing.

I think it's important to plan to study abroad as far in advance as possible. This allows time to decide exactly what you want out of a program and which program will best suit you. There are so many options out there, and having the flexibility to explore them all is certainly an advantage. For me, I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the field. The Wildlife Management Center offered applied coursework, which I have found useful back at Mizzou this semester!

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