Student blog - Skai Walker, BSc Human-Animal Interaction, Foundation Year


Greetings! My name’s Skai and I’m a Human-Animal Interaction (Foundation Year) student at Hartpury University.

I’ve always loved animals and wanted to help people. By becoming an Animal-Assisted Therapist, I will be able to do both! I chose to study at Hartpury because they offer the most carrier-specific education for this profession.

My course
I knew Hartpury would be my top choice when I read the course specification, but after learning about the outstanding campus and the animals on site, I was positively buzzing with excitement! This course is a wonderful opportunity to explore the bond between humans and animals.

My favourite module is Foundation Animal Studies. Our lecturers always have plenty of real-world stories to share from their experience in industry. Our first practical session was calf handling on the farm. This was important for me, as I hadn’t had many personal human-animal interactions with other animals besides pets before.

For our Foundation Biological Principles module, we spent time carrying out dissections in the lab and became familiar with using microscopes. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to take a picture through the microscope lens – is that a planet or a sample of squamous epithelial tissue?

As part of the course, I did a 40-hour internship in the Animal Collection. I visually assessed the animals’ health, cleaned their enclosures and fed them. Each animal has their own personality and it’s delightful to see that as you spend more time with them – I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite!

Love at first sight
I’m an international student from Latvia. Moving abroad was a big step, but I was determined and excited because I knew this was something I had to do to achieve my dream job.

As the bus from the airport took me closer to Hartpury, I found myself falling in love with Gloucestershire. As someone who was born, and lived his entire life, in a capital city, I was amazed by the rich and beautiful English countryside.

You've got a friend in me
Another reason I like being at Hartpury is that you don’t have to look far to find a friendly face. When I arrived, I found comfort in the warm welcome provided by the university. I’ve made lots of friends, from my course and other courses, and find that the staff do everything they can to help you succeed in life.

At Hartpury you’re not just another student, you’re a valued individual. If I ever need help, I know there’s always someone I can reach out to. I still don’t understand the appeal of beans on toast or salt and vinegar crisps, but other than that I feel like I’ve settled in just fine!

That’s one of the reasons why I took up the jobs of being a Student Ambassador and a Class Representative – I want to make a difference by listening to my classmates and giving them a voice.

Exploring the campus
Did you know that there’s a lake on campus?  How exciting is that! You can always spot some ducks, swans, or even geese swimming around. Oh, and not to forget the incredible sky scenery. Seriously, you’ll never get tired of taking pictures of the mesmerising sunsets and sunrises.

And, if that wasn’t enough to get your attention, how about llamas on a walk or one of the campus cats or dogs while waiting for your lecture – Hartpury is always full of animals (and love)!

My future
My Foundation Year gave me a taste of what it’s like to be an animal student at Hartpury and I’m excited to start my Human-Animal Interaction degree come autumn! I’m most looking forward to learning more about animals and getting some more hands-on work experience.

If you’re passionate about animals, Hartpury is definitely one of the best places to consider. Puff (the bearded dragon) and I will be looking forward to meeting you next year. See ya!

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