A Stellar Start: Reflecting on a Month of Achievement and Diversity

As the calendar turned to the new year, our College welcomed a vibrant mix of students from diverse backgrounds, both local and international, marking the beginning of an exciting journey for each one of them.

The 8th of January became a significant date, as these eager minds embarked on a month filled with immersive learning experiences, forging connections, and embracing the rich tapestry of stories that make up our current College community.

At the heart of our collective journey lies the commitment to education, exploration, and personal growth. The first chapter of this thrilling adventure commenced with NQF2 Nature Site Guide lectures and vehicle-based Guide training. It’s awe-inspiring to witness students from all walks of life come together, sharing their unique perspectives and passion for the environment. The campus buzzed with the excitement of discovery as these individuals delved into the intricacies of nature, eager to become proficient Field Guides.

One of the highlights of this month was the Wilderness First Aid Level 1 and 2 training, a crucial aspect of preparing our students for real-world challenges. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed by every student were truly commendable, resulting in a 100% success rate. As they mastered life-saving skills and developed a heightened awareness of their surroundings, the bond among the students strengthened, creating a sense of unity that goes beyond cultural and geographical boundaries.

Let’s hear directly from a few of our remarkable students, about their first-month experiences:

Mac Stevenson, an international student at NJ MORE Campus:

“I really wanted to do this course to get myself into the guiding industry. I have been really impressed with the level of knowledge we have been taught at MORE Field Guide College and I have surprised myself with how much I could learn in such a short space of time. I was also glad that we were able to drive in the Reserve from week 1, as this has been great for me gaining more experience.”

Vusi Mbungela Doylance, a local student at Kruger Campus:

“My sponsor is Warthog Wallow Trust (WWT) and for the past month, I have learned a lot from the amazing, enthusiastic, and welcoming staff at MORE Field Guide College, meeting new people, making friends and now to have a new family. I have learned so much about the different types of trees, their medical uses, traditional beliefs, animal behaviours, diet, and tracks.  

My best moment in the bush on this course was when I was a lead guide for the day – I had to drive and follow a leopard track for the first time, and I managed to spot it on the Black monkey orange tree. I’ve learned that I must connect myself to the bush, to understand the bush.

I want to take this moment to thank my sponsor Warthog Wallow Trust for this amazing opportunity, also for trusting in me with their funds, and for allowing me this opportunity to be a stepping stone for my dream career of becoming a Field Guide.”

Lea Milde, an international student at the Kruger Campus:

“It’s hard to believe that it has already been a month since I arrived in South Africa to begin my field guide course at the MORE Field Guide College. The days have been filled with incredible experiences and unforgettable moments that I could write pages about already. From African Wild Dogs right outside my bedroom window, to learning about geology and animal behaviour, every day is packed with a new highlight. I’ve even had my first ever leopard sighting, a moment I will never forget.

The schedule is intense, with activities ranging from botany and birding to wilderness first aid and 4×4 driving. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone multiple times, but each time has been worth it. I have never felt so happy, alive, and connected to nature as I do now. My favourite part of the course is the daily game drives, where I learn not only from my trainers and fellow students but also from the animals and the environment itself. It’s amazing how much you can learn just by observing nature and wildlife in its natural habitat. I am excited for the next five months of this training program and can’t wait to continue learning and growing as a field guide. This experience has already been life-changing, and I know that there are many more incredible moments ahead.”

The passion for learning, the camaraderie among students, and the dedication of our facilitators have set the stage for growth, exploration, and shared achievements.

Here’s to the adventures that lie ahead, the journey has just begun, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this exceptional group of students.

Words: Candice Grover, General Manager, MORE Field Guide College

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