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Field Trips

Field trips are an exciting way to practically apply your studies in a real-world situation while exploring the world. They are integral to the King’s Geography experience, with international destinations including southern Spain in your first year (where student Zi Shao took the above photo) and China, India, Morocco or the US in your second.

First year field trip

First year students currently visit southern Spain, choosing several research projects in which to take part. These include historical and cultural geographies of the cities of Almería and Cartagena, exploring the impacts of industrial agriculture, investigating the experiences of migrants who tend the fields, considering the evolution of natural resources in Cabo de Gata region, the tectonics and geomorphological evolution of the coast, and the geomorphology and eco-hydrology of the Tabernas Badlands.

In addition to a first exposure to the practicalities of data collection overseas, this trip is also a great way to get to know your fellow students and staff from the department and to gain a better understanding of the wide range of opportunities available to you. The above photo was taken by Geography student, Zi Shao while on her first year trip to Spain. This field trip is currently free for all students required to attend, with the exception of visa fees for some international students.

Second year field trip

Your destination in year two is guided by your degree (BSc or BA) and depending on your main area of interest. For human geographers, the trip is preceded by a term’s worth of preparatory classes in which students conceive and develop a research project to be undertaken ‘in the field’. For physical geographers, data collected in the field as part of the trip is analysed back in London in our state-of-the-art computer labs or John B Thornes Laboratory. 
    

The destinations

This development geography field trip to coastal Kerala, India, is challenging and exciting. For three days you will work in groups of three with a local student counterpart acting as a guide and translator on an individual group project that you will have designed before arriving in Kerala. Student projects are the backbone of the field experience and will have you quickly immersed in local culture, language and development challenges through interviews, focus group discussions and informal observation at a range of locations from schools, fish markets, churches and prawn or coconut plantations to community groups and local governments. Projects are framed by three observation days focusing on urban and rural livelihoods and change and a transect into the Western Ghats. Watch out for elephants - these can be distracting!

This field trip to Hong Kong explores urban and economic development and change in two of East Asia’s most dynamic city regions. The focus of the week-long trip is independent research projects on contemporary issues of urban geography in Hong Kong, including high-density living, relationships with China, legacies of British colonialism, and the cultures of globalisation. Several tours enable students to explore Hong Kong’s housing, architecture and culture, while a hike up Victoria Peak will provide amazing views of Hong Kong and the surrounding bays and islands.

We spend seven days in San Francisco, in the United States, looking at the politics, economics and cultural geographies of this iconic city. The trip intersperses group-based project work (supervised by one of the staff members) with a walking tour of the city; a boat trip around the Bay; and a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods National Monument. In recent years, student projects have focused on gentrification; urban cycling; queer San Francisco; alternative food movements; and earthquake risk and policy. Skills acquired range from the ability to work with archival and visual sources to interviewing and survey-based skills.

This 10-day fieldtrip to Morocco starts in Marrakesh and then takes a transect southwards over the spectacular Atlas Mountains, down the Draa River valley, following this vital water resource through oasis villages until it dissipates into the sand dunes of the Sahara. Along the way we will explore the changing climate, from Mediterranean, through semi-desert mountains, to the arid Sahara. As we do this we will investigate the changing climates effects on the geomorphology, ecology and human subsistence. The trip includes discussion of these issues at numerous locations, but also involves practicals studying the aquatic biodiversity of the Draa River and methods to estimate its past discharge.

 

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