Distance Learning for a Career in Conservation

Conservation Careers Blogger Zehra Zawawi from Karachi, Pakistan, discusses why she chose a distance learning degree, and how’s helped to launch her career in conservation…

Zehra (left) and her twin sister Shadha with Lisa Pierre from the University of London.

Zehra (left) and her twin sister Shadha (right) with Lisa Pierre (centre) from the University of London.

“I knew that I always wanted to work with nature but had hardly any clue what tools and knowledge are required to become an environmentalist. The course details provided by University of London International Programmes made it very easy for me to identify my niche and make my way into a career I longed to be in.

When I applied to the University of London International Programmes, I was earning and learning at the same time. There was no other choice that complemented and fitted into my schedule. Discovering the flexibility of the course and its international standard, I decided to apply for it. I had heard from many previous University of London International Programmes students about the in-depth study structure which helps students develop into analytical thinkers. I completed my studies independently and the study materials provided by UoL guided me in a step by step manner.

The most interesting part about distance learning is that wherever we went, our studies went along with us. During my second year, I ended up with a job in the United Arab Emirates – it was crucially important to have flexible education that could go with my nomadic lifestyle. My face-to-face study circles transformed into virtual discussions and numerous skype calls. Soon I realized that I could take up new levels of studying virtually and found fellows of the same majors on the virtual learning environment (VLE), the online platform provided by the University of London. I found new friends on the VLE and became active participants in online discussions.

In my fourth year I was back to Karachi and I decided to take steps forward and secure a job in conservation, and was successful in getting into WWF-Pakistan soon before my final year exams.  

As soon as I had finished my last year of studying, I was selected for the Post of Eco-Internship Facilitator and Nature Carnival Facilitator with WWF Pakistan. Both of these projects were educational programmes started by WWF Pakistan to foster environmental awareness among youth. I was appointed to present speeches and conduct workshops for the youth. I visited various universities, schools, colleges and communities to deliver speeches on environmental issues. 

During the process I also took part in advocacy, lobbying, scheduling meetings, taking care of the logistics of the event, administering, fundraising, marketing for the event, networking and media liaison.

One of my biggest professional, as well as personal, achievements has been my recent positioning with WWF South Pacific as an International Volunteer. I have been held responsible for social media, presentations, community outreach, event management, publications, writing articles for newspapers, media monitoring, report writing, networking and management of a database for the communications department.

With this opportunity I have developed skills, maturity and independence in making my own decisions. Travelling across various islands in the Fiji region and networking with various dignitaries, high profile delegates and community residents has helped me appreciate intricate social patterns and designs important in understanding issues of environment and sustainability. During my tenure, I not only developed my communications skills but also improved other abilities like maintaining physique, stamina, endurance, durability and patience during the field assignments.

Currently, I am in a transition of making new decisions for my career goals. I recently completed a Sustainability leadership course with Lead International under WWF International Prince Bernhard Scholarship and officially achieved the status of a Lead Fellow which is a network of leaders for sustainable development. Lead International has pioneered the development of leadership capacity across sectors, on a global scale, to address the world’s most pressing problems for 20 years.

The University of London International Programmes is definitely one of the biggest reasons for my career success. Studying independently has developed me into a fine professional with exceptional self-management and organizational skills. It has taught me time management and taking responsibility of my work which is much needed by employers. The standard of education offered by the University of London is highly commendable and well recognised across the globe which adds an edge to my curriculum vitae. This degree has helped me discover my skills, given maturity to my interests and got me into the environmental field which has always been my lifelong dream. The University of London days are memories which we will cherish forevermore”…

  • Read the full story here.
  • Find out more about studying one of our BSc programmes in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences, with academic direction by LSE.
  • Find out more about studying for a University of London degree in Pakistan.
  • The BSc Geography and Environment is no longer available to new students. However, you can still study some of the same courses through the BSc Development and Economics, BSc International Development, the Diploma for Graduates in International Development, plus the Diploma in Economics and Diploma in Social Sciences.

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