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Yuka Ota: from Tokyo to the African bush

My name is Yuka Ota. I’m from Tokyo, Japan. I’m currently working as a Field Guide at one of the lodges in South Africa as an intern. I have never imagined that I would be doing what I’m doing today before I joined the Professional Field Guide course with EcoTraining.

EcoTraining totally changed my life.

My passion has always been about animals ever since I was a little child. I have always loved wild animals and being able to protect them was my dream job. I have participated in a lot of nature conservation projects in many countries such as Australia and Malaysia. And when I joined a conservation project in Botswana I totally fell in love with the African wilderness.

I was lucky enough to meet a guide who graduated from EcoTraining and she told me about the amazing experience that she had with EcoTraining.

I decided to take a year off from university in Japan and join the year course, which was the biggest and best decision I had ever made so far in my life. Though it was just to get some experience at the beginning, I realized I really love the bush and wanted to become a Field Guide through doing the course.

Listening to stories around a campfire under the stars

It was such a great experience to study with other students who have a common passion for wildlife and learn from the inspirational instructors at EcoTraining. I was not very confident to speak English in front of people when I started the course, but the instructors not only vastly increased my knowledge but also helped me gain confidence. Thanks to them, I could successfully finish my course by obtaining the necessary qualifications to be a guide.

After the course, I went back to the university in Japan. While I was in Japan I just couldn’t stop thinking about the bush, which made me want to go back to Africa and pursue my dream of becoming a guide as soon as I finished my degree in tourism at the university.

Now my goal is to work as a guide with a work visa instead of guiding as an intern with only a student visa. It’s not going to be easy as I am a foreigner, but I never want to give up on this as long as there is a possibility. I would love to bring more Japanese people into this spectacular natural environment and play the role of a bridge between the African wilderness and Japan in the future”.

In this video, Yuka managed to shoot better than all the guys on the same course. It was taken during the Advanced Rifle Handling training in preparation for the Trails Guide course.

About the Author:
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Annemi Zaaiman

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