Karen Lai’s interest in environmental science was born while scuba diving with her father and brother off the coast of her native Hong Kong.
“We used to go out to sea a lot,” the 22-year-old explained. “I guess that was how I developed an interest in the environment.”
Drawn to Stirling by the picturesque campus and its range of courses, Karen first arrived at the University through the International Summer School before transferring to a full degree in 2014. Karen quickly settled in Stirling – although she admits that local accents posed a challenge at first – and ingratiated herself with student life, becoming involved in the University’s environmental hub, Green and Blue Space.
“It is an awesome place,” she said. “I have met a lot of great people here, from across the world and of all ages. It has also helped me a lot with my course too, as well as my perception of different environmental issues and how we can do better as a community.”
Reflecting on her studies, she said: “I really valued the access we had to lots of publications and the lecturers were extremely helpful.”
During the third year of her studies, Karen went on exchange to study abroad at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – an opportunity that enriched her learning experience and understanding of her subject.
“It was an amazing experience, there was a lot of snow,” Karen explained. “I absolutely loved it. The people there are very practical and knowledgeable about their environment and really know how to survive in the wilderness.”
Karen, who is now focusing on securing employment in her chosen field, added: “I would work anywhere in the world as long as I get to work with people and the environment.”