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Featured Alumni: Ana Sofia Lorda

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Our ’Featured Alumni’ section aims to showcase Oxford Alumni based in Mexico. By doing so, we promote a more dynamic alumni community, socially and professionally.

College: St. Peters College

Matriculation Year: 2018

Degree: MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management

Favorite restaurant in Oxford: This is a hard one! I guess it depended on the mood I was in. For example, if I wanted something casual and cozy, I would go to the White Rabbit. Their pizza is great, that’s why it’s always crowded! If I was in the mood of something spicy then I would go to Old Tom (St Aldates Street) or Sasi Thai at the Covered Market. Their Thai food is really good and not too pricey! If I wanted something fresh and flavourful I would go to Branca or Alpha Bar at the Covered Market. I lived in the Jericho area, where my favorite pubs are: The Victoria and The Jericho Tavern. It can’t go wrong with pub food and a pint of beer!

Favourite college: Also a hard one. Each college has its own vibe and personality. I enjoyed every College I had the opportunity to visit, but if I would have to choose one I would go with the one I know the most and was part of: St. Peters. Their parties are by far the best ones!

What was your favorite elective and why? I only had two electives, and if I would go immediately with the subject I’m most passionate about, I would say Marine Ecosystems, their Conservation, and Management, but actually, I think my favorite one was the one that challenged me the most, Environmental Governance. One of the reasons why I chose Oxford and the School of Geography and the Environment was that I wanted to learn how to incorporate social sciences into biodiversity conservation and management, and the Environmental Governance elective was exactly about that. I felt totally out of my comfort zone but I still enjoyed it and had the chance to look at the natural world through a different lens. I’m very grateful for that.

What surprised you the most about the 'Oxford Experience'? What surprised me the most was the access we had as students to a vast amount of information and knowledge. We could go to any conference we wanted and hear the latest research by top scientists in the world. I also felt proud of being part of a University that persisted and thrived in uncertain and difficult situations. Oxford is one of the oldest Universities in the world and its buildings reflect that. Every time I went to the Taylorian, the Radcliffe Camera or any of the old buildings, I felt like I was part of something bigger, and that’s something you don’t experience very often.

How do you plan to use your degree to make the world a better place? I plan to continue working and learning from others who are as passionate about conservation as I am. I have to say, working in this field is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding. One of my end goals is to make my home country (Mexico) a place where biodiversity and conservation are prioritized, and where people, irrespective of their backgrounds, value nature as much as I do.

What advice would you give to prospective Oxford students? I have five tips to make the most out of the 'Oxford Experience':

  1. Enjoy and try not to stress too much! Studying at Oxford means feeling constantly under pressure and rushed. Remember that you are lucky to be sitting where you are and that you need to make the most of your time there. My time at Oxford went by so fast that I wish I had made the time to enjoy it more. 

  2. Don’t be shy! I consider myself a little bit of an introvert, so it was hard for me to meet new people all the time. There were times I felt exhausted just by speaking. If English is not your native language, the first weeks are hard, but don’t worry, it gets better. If you are like me, try to open yourself to meeting new people and make the most out of the social life in Oxford.

  3. Make good friends. Being at Oxford means being away from home, family, and friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make new, long-lasting friends. Make sure to have a good support system while you’re in Oxford, friends will make everything much sweeter and smoother! 

  4. Build your network. Oxford is a great place to build your professional network. Get involved in all the activities that might help you meet people who work in your field. Most importantly, keep the momentum going! Don’t stop building your network once you finish your program. Keep in touch with your contacts and let them know you are still around.

  5. Last but not least, work hard. It might sound like an obvious thing to do, but sometimes we take this for granted. We are very privileged to be able to study and do what we love, even more so to study at Oxford. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many people. One of the ways we can give something in return is to work hard. 

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