Third Year Residential Field Trips – The Alps

One of the highlights of the Geography course here at Worcester, is when students are invited to travel on residential field trips.

In third year, there is a choice of two alternate trips in the first semester – one more orientated to human geography (the Province trip GEOG3003), and one that is tailored to physical geographers (the Alps GEOG3004). #

Those studying specifically human or physical geography will find that the choice is already made for them, as the module more suited to their area of study is listed as mandatory.

However, for those of us studying straight geography with mixed disciplines, the choice is left up to us. I’m often indecisive so it took me a while to choose between the two, but eventually I did. I chose the physical geography trip because I thought that it was more suited to me. However, both trips are a once in a life time opportunity, and whichever you choose, will be an exciting experience.

The costs of both residential trips are significantly subisidised, so students do not have to pay for everything!

On the Mountain Environments Field Course module (GEOG3004), the 8 day long field trip is packed full of opportunities to practice field techniques and explore a different landscape. Not only this, but the module also provides a chance to become closer to your course friends whilst doing something unique. Sharing an experience like this with other people was one of the best parts for me.

You’ll be visiting several valleys within the Swiss Alps such as Arolla and Ferpecle, studying their river catchments and geomorphology whilst trekking along the mountain footpaths.  Check my photos below.

If you’re clumsy like I am, then you might end up with a few more bruises than you arrived with, but the sights are totally worth the pain!

After you have returned from the Alps, you’ll be able to say that you’ve achieved things such as ‘visiting four counties over the span of a few days’, ‘standing on a glacier’ and ‘playing the Raclette challenge’ – a game involving eating as many dishes of melted cheese and baked potato as you can. All are things that I would never have imagined doing before going on this trip!

It’s also a great opportunity to discover your inner photographer, so make sure you bring a camera along to take photos of the fantastic views! I even learned to take panoramic photos!

Of course, no module can be passed without writing assignments, and there are two of them for this residential. You’ll be required to write a field guide based on geomorphological features found within the valleys, and a report on the river field work carried out around the Arolla valley area.

So whilst you’re busy having fun exploring on the residential, don’t forget to pay attention to everything that you do, as it could be really important!

As always, I’d recommend taking a look at the course and module guides for further details. Also, take a look at my other blog posts about a day trip to the Shropshire hills, and advice on field kit lists for more information about opportunities on the Geography courses!

Take a glance at my gallery below for some further insight into what the atmosphere on the Alps trip is like!