Hi, my name is Artur and I’m a doing a Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems at University of Edinburgh. This blog is intended for sharing my experiences as a student and showing how life in Edinburgh is.
A couple of words about me: originally, I’m from Łódź, a city in central Poland, but my background is more diverse than that. Most of my family is Polish-American, so I spent a part of my childhood in Austin, Texas. My undergraduate studies took place partially in Poland and partially in England, as it was a double-degree course (I majored in Mechanical Engineering). After getting my English degree I moved to Hamburg, Germany, where I worked in the aerospace industry and had both the pleasure and opportunity to contribute to the structural design of new Airbus A350XWB. However, I always knew that at one point I would want to pursue a master’s degree and decided to apply. And that’s how the Edinburgh adventure began…
During Semester 2 there’s a special event held at the university called Innovative Learning Week (ILW). This year it took place between Feb 16 and 21. During this period no course lectures or seminars are held and instead there are many extracurricular activities for students to engage in. These are all free of cost and very, very diverse. There were discussion clubs, film viewings, field trips, themed tours through the city, programming seminars, entrepreneurship workshops and many, many more. And the best part about it is that if you have a good idea for an event, it’s possible to apply and even get funding.
Although I had a great I idea, unfortunately I haven’t applied because I was swamped with work just before the application deadline (make no mistake, a 1-year Masters at University of Edinburgh will keep you busy!). This hasn’t stopped me, though, from taking part in some of the events, which were very relevant to my course.
On Tuesday, I attended a Solar Panel Building workshop. This event was organized specifically for our MSc course. The objective was simple- by the end of the day (or should I say- before the sun sets) we were challenged to assemble a working solar panel that could charge a battery and/or a music speaker. The workshop was lots of fun and we enjoyed it thoroughly. It was also a great hands-on experience, a pleasant difference from theoretical academia.
On Wednesday, I took part in a field trip to a CCS research facility at Renfrew, near Glasgow. CCS stands for Carbon Capture and Storage. It is one of the technologies currently developing in a hope to reduce CO2 emissions, but it’s still in the demonstration phase. A youtube video linked below shows the general concept of how it (maybe) will work (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv6NzfouwSE ) It was another opportunity to see how things are done in practice, but it convinced me that as a technology it could reduce carbon footprint. Nevertheless, it was a great experience.
Innovative Learning Week is often called “the skiing week” by undergraduate students, because there are no compulsory classes at that time. Although, being a passionate skier and snowboarder myself, I can understand that, but I think that it’s useful to actually check out the events that are held at that time, especially since a master’s course is only 1 year and there will be no opportunity to do it next year… And if you’re doing a master’s at University of Edinburgh, you probably WILL also need to use some of the time during ILW to catch up the class material, so unlike the undergrads, you won’t have time for skiing anyways!