My Gap year that set my soul on fire: Laura Gutknecht’s pursuit of becoming a Field Guide.

Since Laura was a little girl she dreamt of becoming a Field Guide. This is exactly what she decided to do as part of her Gap Year experience after graduating from High School in Switzerland.

Laura Gutknecht on course with EcoTraining (c) Samantha Davies

Ever since I visited the African bush for the first time when I was 11 years old, I envisioned myself becoming a field guide and being able to share my knowledge and experiences about this magical place with others. When I did graduate from high school I planned to take a Gap Year in South Africa, upon which, I would return and begin my Biology studies at University. I was afforded the unique opportunity by the Lodge industry to work in the bush for 2 months as part of my Gap Year itinerary.

During those two months, I fell even more in love with the bush, so I decided that my last adventure would be the FGASA Field Guide Level 1 / NQF2 Course offered by EcoTraining. I enrolled and here I am, very happy and so excited about what will come from this magical experience. It still feels like a dream except for the fact that this dream is now finally becoming a reality.

I love the idea that I am living in the open wilderness for 2 months, being surrounded by beautiful nature and its wildlife, meeting like-minded people and being able to expand my knowledge about all aspects of the bush and learning about the role of a professional field guide.